Odisha Streamlines Rules to Facilitate Rooftop Solar Installations

To accelerate the adoption of rooftop solar, the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has announced that as of July 2, 2024, installations of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems up to 10 kW in capacity will no longer require a technical feasibility study for approval.

This decision, communicated by the OERC to distribution companies in Odisha, aligns with the recent amendments to the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2024, issued by the central government. Under the new guidelines, applications for smaller systems that are complete in all respects will be accepted automatically.

The policy change aims to simplify and expedite the installation process for residential and small commercial consumers keen on adopting solar energy. Karnataka and Gujarat have also notified similar rules to accelerate residential rooftop solar installations.

Distribution companies are now mandated to perform any necessary enhancements to the consumer’s sanctioned load without additional procedures.

The official memo said that OERC’s directive supersedes all previous directions.

The state predominantly relies on thermal power, which accounts for ~64% of the state’s power mix. Renewable energy sources account for around 36%, with large hydro contributing around 76% to the state’s renewable capacity.

Solar power accounted for slightly more than 6% of the state’s power mix and around 18% of renewable energy sources. Meanwhile, as of the end of the first quarter (Q1) 2024, India’s cumulative rooftop solar capacity reached 10.8 GW. Within this national total, the state of Odisha contributes merely 29 MW, representing 0.27% of the country’s rooftop solar installations, according to Mercom India Rooftop Solar Market Report for Q1.

The Odisha government earlier this year gave the green light to a number of green energy projects with a promised investment of roughly ₹557 billion (~$6.7 billion). Among the proposals approved by the Odisha government was an investment by Hindalco Industries for a solar power project in Koratpur at a cost of ₹2 billion (~$24.1 million). Besides this, the state government gave the go-ahead for Tata Steel’s 22 MW solar project in Sundergarh, with an investment of ₹1.26 billion (~$15.1 million).

It also approved solar cell and module manufacturer Jupiter International’s proposal to set up a 1.2 GW solar cell manufacturing facility in the state.

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