Interview with Ankur Gupta

“Haryana has a huge target for rooftop solar power”

The Haryana government is promoting solar power-based water pumps for irrigation as well as grid-connected rooftop solar projects in a big way. In an interview with Renewable Watch, Ankur Gupta, principal secretary, New and Renewable Energy Department, Government of Haryana, speaks about the various initiatives as well as the progress made so far…

What have been the key highlights in Haryana’s renewable energy space over the past year?      

The biggest highlight is that the state government provided 750 solar water pumping systems to farmers on a 90 per cent subsidy basis during 2016-17 in 23 safe blocks.

What is the installed capacity in utility-scale and rooftop solar segments in the state? What are some of the upcoming state tenders for solar energy?  

So far, 49.8 MW of ground-mounted solar projects have been set up and 137 MW of capacity is to be set up by private developers for captive consumption or third-party sale. The state power utility is planning to invite tenders for the purchase of 300 MW of solar power. In the rooftop segment, 66 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar plants have been installed. Another 20 MW of grid-connected rooftop plants are to be installed during 2017-18. In addition, 1,451 kWp of off-grid solar power plants have been installed in Haryana. Apart from this, nearly 25 MW of off-grid power plants are to be set up in schools, hospitals and for individual beneficiaries next year.

What are the key initiatives that have been taken by the state for promoting rooftop solar, solar pump sets, off-grid renewable energy and bioenergy?

The state government has notified a user-friendly state solar power policy to promote deployment. For grid-connected rooftop plants, the government is providing subsidy to individuals as well as to the institutional and social sectors. For the industrial and commercial sectors, the accelerated depreciation benefit is available. The New and Renewable Energy Department of Haryana is promoting the installation of 2,300 solar water pumping systems during 2017-18 by providing 90 per cent subsidy (including the subsidy provided by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy). To tackle the issue of straw burning and promote paddy straw-based biomass power projects, the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) has floated a request for proposal for setting up six paddy straw-based biomass power projects of about 50 MW capacity. These projects are likely to be commissioned by 2019-20. HAREDA is in the process of formulating the Biomass Policy, 2017 with the aim to set up 150 MW equivalent biomass projects by 2022.

What is the current renewable purchase obligation (RPO) compliance status in the state and what are the  plans to ensure 100 per cent compliance?    

Up to 2015-16, of the targeted 420 MUs needed to fulfil the solar RPO, 127 MUs were achieved.  Of the targeted 2,282 MUs needed to fulfil the non-solar RPO, 1,172 MUs were achieved.

What are some of the key issues faced by the state’s renewable energy sector?      

For grid-connected rooftop solar projects, the installation of net meters is the key issue. Meanwhile, for ground-mounted projects, the main challenge is the approval of tariffs by the HERC.

What is your outlook for the renewable energy segment in the state?    

The state has a huge target for rooftop solar power. It has plans for setting up 4,030 MW of solar projects by 2022, including 1,600 MW of rooftop solar projects

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