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Policy on rooftop solar power generation for Delhi soon

According to reports, after years of wait, the decks are finally being cleared for rooftop solar power generation in the Capital. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission is expected to notify the proposal, which will see solar units fixed on rooftops, in two weeks’ time. The initiative envisages individual households producing solar power for their own consumption and also decreasing the peak time load on the power network.

The DERC is in the process of finalising regulations about its proposal to introduce net metering for rooftop solar power generation as per the guidelines laid down by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

After the policy is notified, the Delhi Government will initiate putting of solar plants on government buildings, colleges and hospitals. It may be later followed at individual level. In fact, the Delhi Government may announce “production-based subsidy” and other incentives for solar power generation.

So far, Delhi doesn’t have a solar policy, a fact that is an obstacle in accessing incentives for producing solar energy.

Sources in the Delhi Government told The Hindu that the Environment Department has prepared a draft solar policy that envisages “production-based subsidy”. This means the government will pay for the units of energy one saves by using solar power. People who install solar rooftops would also enjoy a 30 per cent subsidy on solar panels from the Ministry.

Delhi has about 250 to 300 sunny days available in a year and can have an average solar installation of 5.31 KWhr/day/square metre.

“If somebody wants to generate solar power for their own purposes, they may do so and, if they produce more, they can have an arrangement with their power supplier to send the excess power in the distribution grid,” DERC chairperson P.D. Sudhakar said.

Explaining the benefits of the scheme, DERC member J.P. Singh said: “Suppose a household with the solar unit uses 900 units. If it generates about 200 units of electricity per month through the solar unit, it would be able to bring its electricity bill down significantly. Another implication would be lessening of the peak time load on the power network. It would thus also bring down the power purchase cost.”

“The power during peak hours is very expensive. So if the discoms’ load during the peak timings is less, then the power purchase cost would also come down, which will go a long way in bringing the tariff down,” he said.

“The model, as we have drafted it after consultation with all the stakeholders including the public, is a win-win situation for the consumers and other stakeholders like discoms. But it has to evolve gradually… The Delhi Lieutenant-Governor is quite keen on it. And we expect to notify it in no more than two weeks,” said Mr. Singh.

Talking about the possible solar models, Mr. Singh said: “There might be a situation where later the private parties may ask the household owners in a block of housing societies to give their rooftops on rent and develop the solar units and give its benefit to the society inhabitants.”

The regulator’s draft proposal says that with about 300 sunny days in Delhi in a year, and around 30 lakh households, Delhi has more than 700 sq km of built-up area for installation of photo-voltaic systems.

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