Rajasthan has unveiled its Renewable Energy Policy 2023, aiming to establish 90 GW renewable energy projects by the financial year (FY) 2029-30. Solar projects will constitute 65 GW, wind and wind-solar hybrid 15 GW, hydropower, pumped storage projects, and battery energy storage system (BESS) projects 10 GW.
The state has also announced that renewable energy projects supplying power to entities other than DISCOMs will be charged with facilitation charges or will be mandated to supply 7% of the power to DISCOMs at no cost. The payments must be made at a rate of ₹50,000 (~$600.52)/hectare per year for projects commissioned on or after the policy’s commencement.
The policy will be in effect for four years.
The policy aims to promote innovative technologies and approaches for the simultaneous generation of wind and solar power, as well as the adoption of emerging technologies such as storage systems, including pumped storage projects and BESS.
Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation (RREC) has been designated as the nodal agency for registering, approving, and implementing renewable energy projects for four years.
Renewable Energy Facilitation Charges
Renewable energy facilitation charges will be collected into a fund, which will be utilized per the plan approved by the state-level steering committee.
In cases where a renewable power project sells power to entities other than the DISCOMs, the power producer must pay for the solar component of the project. These payments of ₹50,000 (~$600.52)/hectare per year will continue throughout the project’s lifespan.
Developers can either make these facilitation charge payments or choose to supply 7% of the power generated to DISCOMs at no cost. This can be achieved by installing additional capacity to meet this requirement.
There will be no requirement to pay facilitation charges for solar projects commissioned on or after this policy’s commencement date for the sale of power to DISCOMs either directly or through any other trader. Also, power generators will not be required to pay any facilitation charges for captive power projects.
The state will promote the setting up of solar power projects for the sale of power to the distribution companies (DISCOMs) of Rajasthan on the tariff discovered through a competitive bidding process:
The maximum capacity for individual solar projects intended for captive consumption will be according to the consumer’s contract demand per the Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) regulations.
In the case of projects intended for third-party sales, there is no specific capacity limit; however, consumers can only purchase power from such projects up to their contract demand.
The developer will have to submit an application to RREC for the registration of a solar park along with a non-refundable registration charge of ₹10,000 (~$120.31)/MW + GST, subject to a maximum of ₹2 million (~$24,061) + GST for each park.
Rooftop Solar with Net Metering
The state will actively encourage installing grid-connected rooftop solar power systems using a net metering arrangement. The DISCOMs will permit the addition of rooftop solar capacity, up to 50% of the capacity of the distribution transformer serving the respective area.
Rooftop systems can be established on government buildings through the Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) model. Consumers will be eligible for subsidies and incentives per the guidelines established by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the state government.
Rooftop Solar with Gross Metering
Under the gross metering arrangement, the entire generated power will be supplied to the DISCOMs at a tariff determined by RERC. Rooftop solar systems with up to 1 MW capacity will be allowed for gross metering under the program.
Decentralized Solar Projects
Rajasthan will encourage establishing decentralized solar projects, with a minimum capacity of 500 kW and a maximum capacity of 5 MW, located on or near 33 kV grid substations. These projects will generate power for sale to the DISCOMs.
Either RUVNL or the DISCOMs will select substations suitable for decentralized solar power projects.
Farmers, individually or in partnership with developers, can set up decentralized power projects on their non-arable agricultural land. The state will also support the solarization of existing grid-connected agricultural pumps.
Off-Grid Solar Applications
The state will actively encourage and provide incentives for off-grid solar applications, including hybrid systems, in accordance with MNRE guidelines. These off-grid solutions will cater to various electrical and thermal energy needs for both residential and commercial purposes.
Additionally, the state will support individuals in establishing solar power plants for selling electricity directly to consumers through their distribution systems or local solar grids. Efforts will be made to promote the deployment of standalone solar systems to provide electricity to households in remote villages or hamlets.
Renewable Energy Parks
Developers will have to pay ₹10,000 (~$120.31)/MW as a registration fee for renewable energy parks up to 100 MW capacity, ₹1 million (~$12,030)/100 MW beyond 100 MW and up to 500 MW capacity, ₹1.5 million (~$18,045) + ₹40,000 (~$481.21)/100 MW beyond 500 MW and up to 1 GW capacity, and ₹1.7 million (~$20,451) + ₹20,000 (~$240.61)/100 MW beyond 1 GW capacity.
RREC will complete the registration process within 30 days.
The developers will be required to create common infrastructure facilities for developing renewable energy parks, such as creating power evacuation systems, developments of roads, lights, water supply systems, and other administrative support systems.
The allotment of government land to renewable energy park developers will be considered on the recommendation of RREC.
Renewable Energy-Based EV Charging Stations
The charging infrastructure will be developed as per the guidelines and standards issued by the Ministry of Power and Central Electricity Authority.
Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations can be established by state or central public sector undertakings, private operators, or public-private partnership models.
These charging station service providers can install renewable energy generation facilities on their premises for self-consumption. They can access renewable power from generation plants within the state through open access, thus leveraging the incentives offered under the policy.
The state will actively back research and development initiatives related to promoting and adopting renewable energy by EV charging stations and assessing the impact of EV charging infrastructure on the electrical grid.
Rajasthan will promote the setting up of wind power projects for captive use or third-party sale. It will also allow setting up wind power projects for captive use or third-party sale outside the state or through the power exchange.
The maximum permissible capacity of individual wind projects for captive use within the state will be limited to the contract demand of the consumer as per the RERC regulations.
Repowering of Wind Projects
The state will encourage the modernization of existing wind turbines that have been operational for at least ten years.
For power procured by the DISCOMs through existing power purchase agreements (PPAs), the electricity output equivalent to the three-year average preceding the repowering will continue to be procured under the terms of the existing PPA. DISCOMs may purchase any additional generation resulting from the repowering project at a rate determined through competitive bidding within the state at the time of the repowering project’s commissioning.
In the case of repowering projects, the provision of power evacuation infrastructure for either a new pooling station or the expansion of an existing substation will be handled by either Rajasthan Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (RVPN) or the DISCOMs, following load flow studies.
Hybrid Power Projects
The renewable energy policy said wind-solar hybrid power projects for optimal and efficient utilization of infrastructure and land and to achieve better grid stability will be promoted under the following categories:
The maximum permissible capacity of hybrid projects for captive use will be limited to the contract demand of the consumer as per RERC regulations.
A wind-solar power project will be recognized as a hybrid project if the rated power capacity of one resource (wind/solar) is at least 25% of the rated power capacity of the other resource (solar/wind).
The hybrid projects are classified into two categories:
Hybridization of existing Wind-Solar Projects: This category includes the conversion of existing or under-construction wind or solar power projects into hybrid projects.
New Wind-Solar Hybrid Projects: This includes new wind-solar hybrid power projects not registered with RREC until this policy’s commencement date.
Hybridization of Existing Thermal Power Plants
The state will encourage hybridizing current thermal power plants, enabling conventional power generators to meet their generation targets using either thermal or renewable power. This flexibility offers thermal power generators the chance to utilize renewable energy sources efficiently and contribute to emissions reduction.
Any net gain achieved by the generator through the combination of renewable power with thermal power will be evenly shared between the generator and the DISCOMs, subject to approval by the regulatory authority.
Hydropower and Storage Projects
Large hydropower projects, including pumped storage projects with more than 25 MW capacity and energy from all small hydro storage projects commissioned after March 8, 2019, will be considered part of renewable energy.
The state will promote solar, wind, and wind-solar hybrid power projects with storage systems to reduce the variability of renewable power output into the grid and ensure the availability of firm power for a particular period.
The minimum rated energy capacity of an Energy Storage System (ESS) will equal X/2 MWh, where X is the project’s installed capacity in MW.
The energy provided by standalone BESS will be classified as a renewable energy component. If, over a year, at least 85% of the total energy stored within the BESS is sourced from renewable energy, it will qualify for meeting the energy storage obligations.
Rajasthan will also encourage the establishment of floating, reservoir-top, and canal-top solar power projects, either for selling electricity to DISCOMs through competitive bidding, for self-consumption, or for third-party sales. Developers interested in floating solar projects will be allocated potential sites through a transparent allocation process. The Energy Department will issue specific guidelines for floating solar projects.
Registration and Approvals
All renewable energy projects will be required to be registered with RREC.
Developers will have to submit a registration fee of ₹30,000 (~$360.91)/MW for projects up to 100 MW capacity, ₹3 million (~$36,090) + ₹250,000 (~$3,008)/MW beyond 100 MW and up to 500 MW capacity, ₹4 million (~$48,121) + ₹200,000 (~$2,406)/100 MW beyond 500 MW and up to 1 GW capacity, and ₹5 million (~$60,151) + ₹100,000 (~$1,203)/100 MW beyond 1 GW capacity, subject to a maximum of ₹8 million (~$96,241) per project.
Forecasting and Scheduling
All power projects will be required to forecast and schedule their electricity generation per the regulations specified by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Indian Electricity Grid Code) Regulations, 2010, RERC (Intrastate Availability-Based Tariff) Regulations, 2006, RERC (Rajasthan Electricity Grid Code) Regulations, 2008, and RERC (Forecasting, Scheduling, Deviation Settlement, and Related Matters of Solar and Wind Generation Sources) Regulations, 2017, as updated periodically.
The State Load Despatch Center will ensure that renewable projects in the state maintain their ‘Must Run’ status and will transparently record any curtailment of renewable power. Additionally, the Center will develop the infrastructure for forecasting and scheduling, with financial support provided by the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Development Fund, to access real-time generation data.
Rajasthan had the highest cumulative large-scale solar installations, with over 16 GW by the end of Q2 2023, representing approximately 29% of the cumulative utility-scale solar capacity, according to Mercom’s Q2 2023 India Solar Market Update.
Recently, Rajasthan unveiled its draft for “Rajasthan Energy Policy 2050,” seeking to transition the state towards a sustainable and eco-friendly economy.
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