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DERC invites ideas for solar power metering

According to reports, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has invited suggestions and feedback from stakeholders on a proposal to introduce net metering for rooftop solar power generation as per guidelines laid down by the ministry of new and renewable energy.

The commission claims that, with about 300 sunny days in Delhi a year and around 30 lakh households, Delhi has more than 700 sq km of built-up area for installation of photo-voltaic systems. With net metering, the commission will be able to keep an account of how much self-generated solar power the consumer will retain, how much they will pass to the distribution grid and how much they will draw from it.

“Net metering will help in keeping account of the power produced from the solar panels. We are waiting for consumer feedback on the proposal before we proceed to fix up solar power tariffs,” said an official.

Senior officials said introducing solar power policy in Delhi has become a priority for DERC though the proposal has been stuck in red tape for years. “If somebody wants to generate solar power for their own purposes, they may do so and, if they produce more, they can then have an arrangement with their power supplier BSES or Tata to send the excess power in the distribution grid. The consumer can simultaneously draw solar power from this grid,” DERC chairperson P D Sudhakar said.

Renewable energy analysts, meanwhile, have had mixed responses about DERC’s draft net metering proposal. Some clauses may not be very encouraging for people who plan to have solar rooftop facilities.

Manish Ram, renewable energy analyst with Greenpeace India, says it’s a “good initiative” to have a net metering proposal but adds “DERC’s policy says that the capacity to be allowed for each distribution transformer shall not exceed 15% of the capacity of that transformer. I am not sure why there is such a limit. If people have rooftop space they must be allowed to instal bigger capacity solar generation facilities”.

Delhi doesn’t have a solar policy, a fact that may constrain people from accessing incentives for producing solar energy. Delhi’s environment department has prepared a draft solar policy that upholds “production-based subsidy”. This means the government will pay for the units of energy one saves by using solar power. People who plan install solar roof-tops can also enjoy a 30% subsidy on solar panels from the ministry.

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