NEW DELHI: Realising the potential of solar energy, the three private power distribution companies in the city have drawn up elaborate plans to encourage domestic consumers to set up rooftop solar panels and earn money by selling the electricity to them.
Reliance Infra-backed two BSES discoms, which already energised six rooftop solar ‘net metering’ projects, have decided to aggressively promote solar power across its area of operation and appointed team of experts to work on the initiative.
A study by the Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) has found that it could support generation of more than 400 MW of rooftop solar power through the company’s commercial and industrial consumers in North and North West Delhi.
To promote solar energy in Delhi, TPDDL has already invited techno-commercial proposals from reputed organisations for implementation of solar projects of tentative value of Rs 120 crore in the current financial year.
The initiatives by the three discoms came almost six months after Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission(DERC) had directed them to put in place infrastructure to allow domestic consumers to supply solar energy to transmission grid from their rooftop solar panels and earn money.
The DERC had told the discoms to upgrade their transmission networks so that people can sell excess power to them without any difficulty.
“We are focusing on encouraging people to go for generating solar power. We will promote it aggressively,” a top BSES official said.
The national capital has been facing severe power shortage during peak summer months and the power regulator is of the view that solar energy can bridge the gap between the demand and supply of electricity in the city. The power demand in the city has seen an annual increase of 8-10 per cent in the last few years.
“With this initiative, customers will have a chance to choose from traditional as well as conventional source of power. As a responsible power utility, we are working towards generating clean energy using solar power,” said TPDDL CEO Praveer Sinha.
Power department officials said under the solar power initiative, consumers will be able to sell solar power to the discom of the area from their homes, at the market rate or opt for adjusting their bills if they continue to draw electricity from the discom.
The BSES discoms are currently processing application by 50 consumers to set up net metering so that power generated from rooftop solar panels can be linked to the grid.
Last year, the DERC set a target of generating around 100 MW of solar energy in the first two years of launching the initiative.
The DERC has already issued detailed instructions to the power distribution companies regarding installation of metering devices that can record supply of solar energy to the transmission grid as well consumption by the owner of the solar panels as well as price of solar power to be paid to the consumer.
Any consumer having own solar energy generation unit, will be able to either supply directly to the grid or use it partially.
The power supplied by the consumer to the grid during non-peak hours can be drawn back whenever it is required by the consumer.
For implementation of the ambitious project, the DERC last year had come out with Net Metering Regulations elaborating minimum transformer level capacity that must be offered for connectivity.
The power demand in the city has been increasing at a rate of around eight per cent in the last few years and it had touched an all time high of 5,925 last summer.
Delhi’s power generation plants produce around 1,000 MW daily and the city relies heavily on supplies from central and state government-run generation plants in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Himachal.
The BSES discoms supply power in 70 per cent areas of the city while TPDDL distributes power in around 25 per cent areas while New Delhi Municipal Corporation supplies power in Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone.
According to official figures, around 80-90 per cent of total revenue of discoms goes into purchasing power from central and state government owned entities through long term power purchase agreement at rates determined by the central and state regulators.
The experts said discoms’ cost of buying power from generating companies has increased by around 300 per cent in the last two years while the power tariff, in the corresponding period, has risen by around 70 per cent.