Published on September 19th, 2013 | by Mridul Chadha1
Second Time Lucky For New Delhi’s Solar Feed-in Program?
The government of India’s national capital region, Delhi, is planning to introduce a solar power feed-in tariff program for consumers. The government had launched such a plan a few years back as well but it did not find any takers. With a promise of subsidy, sharp fall in solar panel prices, and rapidly increasing electricity tariffs, there could be more consumers interested in setting up rooftop solar power projects.
The government has proposed a subsidy plan different from that implemented in other states of the country. Power producers installing rooftop solar power plants are generally offered about 30% subsidy on the capital cost investment by the state government or the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The Delhi government, on the other hand, plans to provide subsidy on the electricity generated by the power plant.
A subsidy linked to power generated would encourage the installers to maintain the power system, the government believes. Production-based subsidy has also found support from Greenpeace India which has been pushing for an increase in renewable energy in New Delhi.
Last year, the Delhi government scrapped an initial plan to install 465 kW of rooftop solar power systems under the feed-in tariff scheme. The government had asked one of the three distribution companies, BSES, to implement the project, however the distribution company’s request for subsidies was turned down by the government. The company was also not equipped with the net metering technology which would have allowed it to monitor the electricity generated from the solar power system.
One of the main reasons for the failure of the feed-in tariff scheme in the past was the lack of information among the consumers. While I have seen Greenpeace India promote expansion of solar energy, I’m yet to see the distribution companies take any initiative to promote the feed-in tariff scheme.
Hopefully, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) will issue specific regulations regarding the feed-in tariff scheme and instil confidence among the consumers to set up rooftop projects.