Bihar sets growth target for solar, mini-grid

Bihar state, one of India’s most electricity poor, announced a new five-year renewable energy policy that targets 3 GW of solar capacity, including 1 GW of rooftop solar and 100 MW of green mini-grids.

The policy is expected to open up massive new avenues for jobs and livelihood opportunities in the state; particularly in supply chain, operation, and maintenance for grid-connected and off-grid/decentralized renewable energy projects”, the Center for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) said in a statement.

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CEED CEO Ramapati Kumar said he expects the Bihar Policy for Promotion of New and Renewable Sources to attract more than $3 billion (INR 200 billion) in investment, and act as a catalyst for Bihar to develop one-fourth of its installed generation capacity from renewable energy by 2022.

“For the first time, decentralized renewable energy systems are considered as key component for delivering energy services for the deprived,” Kumar said.

According to CEED, the policy provides a host of economic incentives to project developers for setting up renewable energy projects, which includes exemption of electricity duty, VAT, distribution charges and cross-subsidy surcharges. Furthermore, the policy ensures 100 percent banking of energy permitted during all 12 months for renewable energy projects. Provisions to de-risk private sector investment in mini-grid projects are also included, given the fact that remote areas of Bihar possess huge potential for mini-grids.

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