Utility Tata Power has been exempted from penalties for not meeting its renewable energy obligations in the state of Maharashtra.

After Tata Power filed a petition to state electricity regulator, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), the Commission ruled to waive penalties for solar power procurement targets.

Tata Power filed the petition on 23 October 2013, claiming since the start of the financial year in 2010 it has not been able to source enough solar energy to meet government renewable energy targets.

Tata claimed there is an “inherent shortage of solar generating capacity” in India. From the financial year 2010 to 2013, Tata Power has accumulated a solar shortfall of 35.35 million kWh. Tata Power claims nationally, state targets require 3.5GW of solar generation, when only 1.44GW is available.

Tata Power also cited a rise in sales in 2012 for tying up 3MW of solar capacity and a lack of short-term supply while it continues to develop its own solar projects in an effort to meet targets.

MERC held a hearing on 4 December and ruled Tata Power had only been able to meet 12% of solar targets due to a generation shortfall, and MERC has ordered the penalty to be waivered and Tata Power is instead to meet five years worth of targets by financial year 2015/2016.

Distributors and large industrial companies in Maharashtra have to generate their own renewable energy or purchase renewable energy from a developer, another licensee, or a renewable energy certificate, to meet the 25% requirement or a penalty is to be enforced.

For 2012-2013 the state of Maharashtra places an obligation of a 25% minimum of energy distributed to come from renewable energy – up to 50% for 2013/2014. Tata Power has claimed this target is unobtainable.

This is in accord with India’s national solar mission (JNNSM), which aims to have 20GW of solar grid connected by 2022. The first phase of JNNSM successfully met its target for 1GW of solar to be grid connected.

According to the Central Electricity Authority and RESolve energy consultancy, the power requirement in Maharashtra for the year 2012-13 was 52,700 million kWh with only 44,758 million kWh available; a yearly deficit of roughly 15.1%.

Tata Power develops many solar parks in India, most recently Tata Power was chosen to develop a 50MW project in Madhya Pradesh.

Maharashtra is one of the top three solar states in India.