Kerala releases draft solar energy policy for 2013

The state government of Kerala, India has released its draft solar policy for 2013, calling for 500 MW of new solar by 2017 and 1.5 GW by 2030.

“Kerala Solar Energy Policy 2013” covers both solar electric and solar thermal technologies, calling for mandatory use of solar water heating in many buildings. The policy will be implemented on April 1st, 2013.

“There is a popular perception that solar energy could be the key part of the solution to the energy crisis in the State,” notes Kerala’s Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT).

“This policy seeks to evaluate in a realistic manner the possibilities of harnessing solar energy to optimal levels and to put in place the necessary framework.”


Mandatory solar water heating in public, private buildings

In the policy, Kerala calls for mandatory solar water heating in all industrial buildings that use hot water for processing, all hospitals and nursing homes, hotels, resorts, large residential buildings, several types of government buildings and all-weather swimming pools.

It also calls for promotion of solar steam systems and water heating for process heat requirements in a variety of public and private applications.


Multiple forms of solar generation, multiple support programs

For electricity generation, Kerala also seeks to deploy multiple forms of solar generation, including off-grid rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) plants to displace diesel generation, grid-connected PV plants at demand points, off-site solar generation on canals, reservoirs, waste lands and quarries, and off-shore concentrating solar power (CSP) plants.

For these different sectors the policy calls for multiple procurement and support programs including feed-in tariffs. Competitive bidding and allocation would be adopted for the more challenging applications including off-shore systems.

Solar purchase obligations will be implemented for larger commercial and industrial customers.

Grids, storage emphasized

Kerala’s draft policy also calls for improvement of interconnection standards, and a comprehensive set of protocols to improve grid quality, with a specific focus on micro-grids.

Additionally the policy calls for an exploration into developing pumped storage to enable higher levels of grid integration of electricity from solar.

The policy also addresses solar industry development, targeting balance of systems (BoS) manufacturing, as well as calling for the creation of a research and development hub.