GERC Approves RE Generator’s Right To Replace Damaged PV Modules

Highlights :

  • The GERC, however, said that the petitioner would not be eligible to enhance the plant’s capacity above 5 MW as per the PPA.
  • These solar modules of the solar plant were damaged due to floods and cyclones in 2017 and need replacement, repair to resume production.
GERC Approves RE Generator’s Right To Replace Damaged PV Modules Trina Solar Supplies 800 MW Solar Modules to 2 GW Al Dhafra PV Power Plant

In its latest order, the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Authority (GERC) withheld the rights of solar energy generators to replace damaged and defective solar modules.

The state electricity commission passed the order while hearing a petition filed by Jai Hind Projects Limited, a solar energy generator. Its solar company has a 5-megawatt (MW) solar power plant in the Patan district of Gujarat. It was commissioned on April 18, 2012. However, many of its solar modules were damaged or became defective due to cyclones and floods that hit the state in 2017. 

The firm had said that out of the 58,539 solar panels,4,690 had developed cracks/damage, and another 4,820 panels were scrapped. Thus a total of 9,510 solar panels in the plants were damaged or needed replacement. However, the respondent in the case-Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL), approved the replacement of only 645 damaged modules. GUVNL allegedly also put an additional condition of maintaining a base CUF for the solar energy generator. 

The petitioner-Jai Hind Projects Limited told the GERC that these conditions were unilateral in nature and amounted to rewriting the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that the two companies had signed earlier. The solar producer alleged recurring losses due to such actions by the GUVNL and delays in replacing the requisite modules. 

GUVNL, on the other side, had claimed that there was no provision for replacing damaged solar panels in the PPA during the project’s life cycle. It said that new panels would be cheaper, allowing the generator to claim higher tariffs. 

“With a view to streamline the procedures for replacement of damaged solar panel, and at the same time to ensure that the generators shall undertake such replacement activity which does not result into enhancement in capacity / increase in generation and injection of energy to take advantage of tariff agreed in the PPA, the GUVNL devised common Guidelines required to be followed by the generators for replacement of damaged solar panels,” GUVNL told the GERC.

The GERC, however, termed such guidelines as illegal and invalid and accepted the petitioner’s plea. “In the present case as the Commission has decided that the petitioner has right to replace or restore solar PV panels or rooftop panels and achieve CUF of 20% in terms of Order No. 02 of 2010 dated 29.01.2010 as well as tariff accordingly as decided in earlier para of this order. Further, the Commission has also decided that the guidelines for replacement of solar modules issued by the respondent is illegal and invalid,” the order said.

It also quashed the imposition of base CUF direction by the GUNVL on the solar energy producer. “The communication dated 10.12.2020 issued by the Respondent with regard to imposition of “Base CUF” and limiting the tariff/ cost of generation payable to “Base CUF” only is illegal, arbitrary. The petitioner is eligible to generate and inject the energy from its solar power plant of 5 MW capacity and supply the energy generated from the plant to the respondent to the limit of 20% CUF,” the order said.

The GERC, however, said that the petitioner would not be eligible to enhance the plant’s capacity in any case above 5 MW as per the terms of the PPA. It also directed the solar producer to inform GUVNL about the details of the replaced solar modules intended with new modules.

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