Col. Chanjeet Gauba writes open letter to Haryana Govt on solar policy

Co- Founder & CEO, Solis Ortum Energy -Col. Chanjeet Gauba (Retd.) writes open letter to Chief Minister of Haryana stating that new policy by HERC getting blocked by some government officials due to lack of understanding of the benefits of solar.

He also suggested way forward and writes “Discom loss can be compensated if they were to levy a minuscule negligible surcharge on the energy bills  to the industries and commercial  usage  criteria thus if not neutralizing the deficit at least reducing the same substantially.”

Here is the complete letter :-

“Dear sir,

After two years of hold back by HERC , the open access for third party solar power generation was opened up to the industry , providing succor to them  from the high price as levied  by the Discom charging them Rs 8.50 per unit .

Today most of the states all over India have a basket mix comprising of both state solar utility PPA and are able to procure electricity @ Rs 2.44 – Rs 3.20 per unit and third party open access to the tune of 1000MW min, however Haryana is laggard in the solar generator and way far behind.

Efforts of the govt to make govt owned solar park too got scuttled primarily for two reasons:
a) Lack of motivational level by the Surya Power a govt enterprise towards the farmers and not able to procure land, but on the flip side the solar park in Pavagada in Karnataka created by the off shoot of a Govt enterprise of KREDL has a different success story to tell.

  1. b) Non usage of excess panchayat land available but the clause of sub leasing to a financial institution prevents establishment of the solar park on such land.

However opening of the gates by HAREDA and HERC combined, this year, has evinced interest by many a Solar Developers in Haryana.

Criticism and accolades to any policy will be there but reservations so created by the environment towards the guidelines is merely to scuttle the same by creating a psychological warfare and thus

Create an air of suspicion and horse trading which in actuality may not be the true picture seen by many a serious developers

On the flip side establishment of Solar Power Generators will help the state in achieving the following:

a) Districts like Mahendragarh, Bhiwani and Sirsa will see a spurt in growth.
b) Land in these districts wherein the Farmer earns on an average Rs 5000-10000/ per acre per year for lack of water and not able to optimize the land for agricultural usage would, on the flip side earn approximately Rs 35000/ to Rs 45000/ per acre on an average for thirty years revenue when he provides the land on lease to solar developers which is much more than the earnings against the MSP so announced by the Govt to procure Bajra crop and also reduce the burden on the state to buy this  crop every year at  a higher price of MSP.

  1. d) The leasing of the land by the farmer for solar will also prevent the growing of Bajra, ultimately controlling the pollution level in the state of Haryana which we see at the time of burning of the residue on the field
    c) HVPNL, which has not augmented their infrastructure for want of funds will be forced to do the same to take on the electricity load
    d) Investment in the state would go up extensively and bring Haryana on the solar map.

Going forward on the open access policy of HAREDA and also the bid so likely to be generated by HPC for another 300 MW:
The problem as we understand can be classified into two buckets:
A) Bucket one:

Discom not coming to terms as regard to the loss of revenue for this 500 MW .

B) Bucket two:

Having no clear guidelines by  HVPNL and has already accumulated applications for 1500 MW for evacuation feasibility and do not know whom to allot .

Suggested way forward :

Bucket A:

Discom loss can be compensated if they were to levy a minuscule negligible surcharge on the energy bills  to the industries and commercial  usage  criteria thus if not neutralizing the deficit at least reducing the same substantially.

Also we need to understand that Haryana if it goes ahead with implementation of the HERC directions will indirectly create

a more friendly Environmental for new industry to be set up, in the state because of the improvement in the existing infrastructure or else it would only continue to be classified as a mere agricultural state .

We in today scenario are also talking about introduction of E vehicles to reduce the emissions and the central Government has been pushing for the same aggressively. Delhi has come up with the draft policy of establishing charging stations across the city. Majority of the cities of Haryana too would come under the same emission control norms thus forced to construct these charging stations. The question comes up if we see this happening an increase in the electricity consumption and thus the losses so being  projected by DISCOM for the next ten years on the present consumption level are very notional as they will be offset by increase in the consumption.

Industries set up will also generate employment to youth and help the real estate to sell off their stagnant inventory thus once again increasing the demand of energy. It’s a vicious cycle which needs to be reviewed at a holistic level and not primarily at one segment only .

Bucket B:
Issuance of in principal connectivity to all the SPD and SPPD as per the seniority and availability of space in the grid .
Maximum  they can offload on the grid is 600-700 MW with the present existing infrastructure .

The solar policy of HAREDA could be amended to absolve them from constructing the evacuation line for both SPD and SPPD and put it in the scope of the developer thus saving the capex infrastructure cost for HVPNL and the infrastructure so created be taken over by the HVPNL/Discom as the case may be and the developer could be asked to pay the O&M cost to the respective Govt body for the next ten years. Augmentation of the existing infrastructure of HVPNL in the ensuing two financials year would create a better infrastructure because finally the technology is moving towards electricity storage phenomena to offset the thermal reliance on power.

Guidelines so issued by HAREDA

A) To bring transparency in the system ideally space out the policy for attracting many a developer with upper limit of 50MW per entity and 2-5 MW for the small players limited to 50 MW cap
B) Ideally the developer who achieves financial closure as per SECI guidelines in six month period gets the grant of 500 MW which includes registered land, debt / equity available , supply order issued for the modules , Evacuation feasibility from HVPNL , and the EPC contract signed out and the off takers identified  from the allotment of  in principle approval from HAREDA, will make the scenario transparent and clear and those who are just creating confusion too would get waylaid .

The HPCC , presently purchases the electricity at a cheaper cost from SECI , thus claiming it has completed its task of buying the electricity at a cheaper rate to substantiate the requirement of the state consumption thus providing space to the Govt from providing  the requisite subsidy and to meet the requirement of RFP.
Howsoever one major issue is been forgotten  that the state internal growth as regards generation of energy has been stagnant and thus effecting the up gradations of  the grid infrastructure .

Many a state like UP too has realized the same and commenced its journey on the same path .  States like Gujarat and MP have created vast quantum of resilience on the renewable energy and are still moving ahead .

The above suggestions have been suggested to break the existing impasse and help the Govt arrive to a decision. Developers who are serious players have already invested substantial amount of money in the project and not to forget the farmers who too have pledged their land for a 30 year lease are looking at their personal financial improvement in their status and lastly the Environmental growth in terms of investment , infrastructure improvement and generation of employment .

Lastly would recommend that as these developers are basically going to be working in the most underdeveloped districts of the state they could be tasked to adopt the village and work in tandem with the state Govt MP / MLA s and thus fructify the policies so announced by our  Honorable Prime Minister.

We thank you for considering our recommendations. And if required can present my self  for a presentation to  your good self .

Thanks & Regards,
Col. Chanjeet Gauba (Retd.)
Co- Founder & CEO
Solis Ortum Energy Private Limited”