Understanding Open Access of Solar: A Guide
Solar energy has emerged as a promising solution to meet the growing energy needs of India, which is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the adoption of solar energy in India, driven by factors such as increasing energy demand, decreasing costs of solar technology, and favorable government policies. One such policy is the Open Access of Solar, which allows consumers to buy electricity directly from solar power generators.
In this article, we will explain how the Open Access of Solar works, the advantages of captive vs. third-party sale, the charges applied to the sale of electricity in case of third-party and captive use, the major players in the Open Access market, the major states with favorable Open Access regulations, and case studies of Open Access projects.
How Open Access of Solar Works
Open Access of Solar refers to the provision of open access to solar power plants to consumers, which enables them to purchase electricity from renewable sources directly from generators. Open Access of Solar works by allowing consumers to buy electricity from renewable sources such as solar power plants, without any dependence on the grid. The power generated by the solar power plant is transmitted through the distribution network to the consumer through open access.
Advantages of Captive vs. Third-Party Sale
There are two ways to buy solar power: captive sale and third-party sale. Captive sale refers to the consumption of electricity generated by a solar power plant installed by the consumer themselves, while third-party sale refers to the consumption of electricity generated by a solar power plant installed by a third-party. Both captive and third-party sales have their advantages and disadvantages.
Captive sale provides consumers with greater control over their energy consumption and allows them to use electricity at a lower cost. In captive sale, the electricity generated is used for the consumption of the consumer itself, which means that they do not have to pay any transmission or distribution charges.
On the other hand, third-party sale provides consumers with the benefit of being able to purchase electricity from a solar power plant without the need to install and maintain the plant themselves. Third-party sale also enables consumers to source electricity from a larger pool of generators, which means that they can choose the most cost-effective option available.
Open Access Charges for Third-Party and Captive Use
In case of third-party use, the charges are applied to the sale of electricity based on the wheeling and banking charges. Wheeling charges refer to the cost of using the transmission and distribution network to transport the electricity generated from the solar power plant to the consumer. Banking charges refer to the cost of storing excess electricity generated by the solar power plant, which can be used by the consumer at a later time.
In the case of captive use, consumers do not have to pay any transmission or distribution charges. However, they have to pay the cost of setting up and maintaining the solar power plant.
Major Players in the Open Access Market
Some of the major players in the Open Access market include Tata Power Renewable Energy, Adani Green Energy, Azure Power, and CleanMax Solar.
Major States with Favorable Open Access Regulations
Some of the major states with favorable Open Access regulations include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
Open Access Case Studies
In February 2021, Hinduja Renewables developed a 75 MWp captive solar project for Ashok Leyland. In May 2021, Godawari Power & Ispat Ltd announced plans to set up a 250 MW solar power plant in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh. In April 2021, Bharti Airtel completed a 14 MWp captive solar plant in Uttar Pradesh, which will help the company meet power requirements of its core and edge data centers in the state.