Almost 178 MW of solar power, mainly photovoltaic, is being added to the country's energy mix now. The eight States using this power are Rajasthan, Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.
Though solar power is more expensive than conventional thermal sources, consumers need not worry. The impact on the end price of electricity is minimal, , a senior official from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said.
The average bundled cost of solar electricity at the consumer end today is around Rs 4.5 a unit. This is because the Government has prescribed guidelines under the National Solar Mission, which stipulates that every megawatt of solar power is bundled with conventional power (four units).
In other words, against the generic tariff fixed by the regulatory commission for solar photovoltaic of Rs 17.91 a unit, the developer (under the Mission's first batch) sells to NVVN at a discounted rate of about Rs 12 a unit (weighted average). The distribution companies then source power at this bundled rate as they are compensated by the Government in the form of equal amount of conventional power, the official added.
The Government is pushing renewable energy (from all renewable sources). It proposes to increase it to 30,000 MW in the Twelfth Plan against 14,000 MW in the Eleventh Plan.
The country is experiencing power deficit of about 8-9 per cent at present, down from 10-13 per cent at the start of the Eleventh Plan.
In the second fortnight of July, the peak demand met was 115,000-117,000 MW, and the energy consumed was about 2,650 million units a day, sources said. This was up 6-7 per cent from same period last year. Of these 2,650 million units, 170-180 million units were from renewable sources, mostly wind energy.