Indian Government Releases New Guidelines For Solar Development

Officials in India have introduced new guidelines for the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN-NSM) governing the selection of grid-connected solar photovoltaic power projects. Industry organization SEMI India calls the revised guidelines a positive step that will enhance the selection of 350 MW of solar PV projects under the JN-NSM.

The new guidelines fall into the ‘Phase 1, Batch II’ category and are applicable to solar PV projects that will be selected during 2011-2012.Â

‘The newly announced guidelines will pave the way for the country's leading independent power producers to participate in and exploit the benefits of scale with the cap per developer going up to 50 MW,’ explains Debasish Paul Choudhury, president of SEMI India. ‘The increase in the size of projects was a key recommendation that SEMI highlighted based on a stakeholder survey exercise we conducted earlier this year.Â

‘The extended timelines for project milestones in Batch II are also a welcome step,’ Choudhury adds. ‘Along with these, it would be prudent to include a technical filter in the selection of projects for this and future phases.’

In order to provide a boost to manufacturing in the country, aggressive domestic-content guidelines are required, SEMI notes. K. Subramanya, CEO of Tata BP Solar and chairperson of SEMI's India PV advisory committee, says that challenges remain for solar manufacturing in India and that the domestic-content rules should be strengthened and expanded.

In addition, financing remains expensive and hard to secure for solar projects, and questions persist around the bankability of documentation that developers need to submit to secure financing, according to Subramanya. Government payment security schemes and loan-guarantee schemes are starting to address the situation, but more remains to be done, he says.


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