The Solar Power Developers Association (SPDA) has filed a petition under Section 79 of the Electricity Act, 2003, challenging the actions of regulatory authorities. The petition aims to contest the insistence on additional requirements contrary to contractual terms and provisions of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).
SPDA is an independent industry association dedicated to promoting the solar energy sector in India. It provides a neutral platform for policy advocacy and addresses issues critical to the development of the solar industry.
The controversy revolves around the treatment of auxiliary power consumed by solar power developers, with SPDA seeking a uniform resolution for all solar power producers operating under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) scheme.
SPDA’s petition has raised a significant issue with potential ramifications for the growth and development of India’s solar energy sector. The association represents 43 solar power developers, including those with plants in Uttar Pradesh, who are directly affected by the actions of the respondents.
The respondents have been insisting that solar and wind power generators obtain separate connections from distribution companies and pay power charges according to the prevailing tariff category during periods when their plants are not generating electricity. This has prompted SPDA to seek legal recourse.
The association filed the petition in its capacity as an industry association, representing the interests of affected solar power developers. It aims to ensure a fair and uniform resolution of the issues that have arisen under the JNNSM scheme. In the course of the proceedings, it may also consider including affected solar power developers, such as Azure Power Jupiter Private Limited, Azure Power Venus Private Limited, and Enviro Solaire Private Limited, as co-petitioners.
Despite the issues being under review by the regulatory commission, the respondents have been communicating directly with SPDA’s members, asking them to obtain separate connections and pay scheduled tariff rates. These actions have been challenged as illegal and premature, given the ongoing regulatory proceedings.
The central question before the regulatory commission is whether SPDA, as a representative of the affected solar power developers, can file a petition in this capacity. The debate arises from the fact that SPDA is not a party to the PPAs in question.
During the hearings on April 25, 2023, NTPC argued that SPDA, not being a party to the PPAs, cannot enforce contractual rights on their behalf. SPDA, however, contended that as a duly registered industry association, it has a legitimate interest in the matter and its members are directly affected by the actions of the respondents.
The regulatory commission has recognized SPDA’s authority to file a petition in a representative capacity, given its registration and relevant supporting documents. As a result, the petition has been admitted, and SPDA is directed to inform its members about its filing. The commission has clarified that its decision pertains to the admissibility of the petition and does not reflect a stance on the underlying issues. The parties involved must complete their pleadings within four weeks, with no further extensions allowed. The case will be listed for a future hearing.
This development marks a significant step in addressing the challenges faced by solar power developers and underscores the importance of industry associations in advocating for their interests.
Please read the document below for more details.