Solar Rooftop plants rise in Delhi

NEW DELHI: More than half of the more than 3,700 net metering connections installed in the past few years in the nation's capital have been residential rooftop solar power connections, according to officials.

The BSES discoms have powered over 2,700 solar net metering connections in the city, with the biggest number of residential rooftop solar connections (1,526), followed by educational (581), and commercial (473) segments, according to an official spokeswoman.

"Analysis of the data indicates that the residential sector has the highest number of rooftop solar net metering connections. "Around 90 societies and residential complexes with a sanctioned load of over 5 MWp have chosen rooftop solar hookup," he said.

In September 2014, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) established regulations on net metering for renewable energy. The regulations let registered users of utilities to build renewable energy systems, and utilities will allow connecting of these systems to their networks via net metres.

"In 2019-2020, 374 rooftop solar net metering clients, including 245 in the residential category, were added," a spokeswoman stated.

A representative for Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) stated that the domestic (residential) sector has been on the rise since 2017.

In Phase-I of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy's (MNRE) subsidy scheme, a customer is entitled to a flat 30% discount on the cost of a solar plant, which has contributed to the increase in household solar installations since 2017.

The TPDDL has thus far deployed approximately one thousand solar rooftop net metering connections.

He stated that the current cumulative installed capacity of 33.7 MW will be enhanced to 40 MW during the next two years.

A spokeswoman for BSES stated that the reception to rooftop solar net metering has been "very promising" and that consumers across all demographics have embraced the concept in a major way.

Currently, the BSES discoms BRPL (2,197 connections) and BYPL (541 connections) have a combined solar load of 88 MWp. According to him, in the current fiscal year (FY 2020-21), BSES would likely activate roughly 1,000 rooftop solar connections.

"BSES has powered rooftop net metering connections with authorised loads ranging from 1 kW to over 1,600 kW. Consumers have beginning to realise that rooftop solar net metering cuts their electricity rates. This is evident in the diverse consumer base," a BSES representative explained.

According to an analysis of the annual savings accruing to customers in various market categories, they save over 62 crore annually.

Every kilowatt of rooftop solar provides approximately 100 to 120 units of electricity each month, and the cost of the system can be recouped in 3.5 to 4 years, according to the official.

In solar net metering systems, consumers can sell excess electricity and receive payment from the utility company.

Depending on the capacity of the solar plant, the MNRE provides a capital cost subsidy of 20% to 40% (up to 10 kW) for residential consumers and 20% (upto 500 kW) for group housing societies, according to the BSES official.


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