Delhi residents can now generate solar power on rooftops and sell it to power distribution companies, or discoms as they are known, to reduce their electricity bills.
The two BSES on Monday said they had already started net-metering at six locations in the city — four residential and one commercial building in south Delhi and a school in the east. It would save them Rs 3,000 to Rs 32,000 a month, they said.
Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had in 2014 announced the net-metering guidelines, allowing consumers to generate solar power for their own use while feeding the surplus into the network of distribution companies.
“Those with a solar power panel installed on the rooftop can use it to run appliances during the day time. At other times, they will use the power from the grid. So, whatever is surplus can be fed into the discom’s network,” DERC chairperson PD Sudhakar said.
For instance, the East Point School in Vasundhara Enclave, which has installed a 20 kW photovoltaic plant on its roof, has an existing sanctioned load of 55 kW.
According to BSES Yamuna Power Limited, it will generate 2,400-3,000 units of solar power per month and save the school Rs 25,000 in electricity bill every month.
The personal power house will also come in handy during outages, a constant problem in the power-starved city.
With nearly 300 days of sunshine, Delhi can generate 2,557MW power a day by installing solar plants on the available 31 sq km of rooftops, a 2013 Greenpeace India report said. It can drastically bring down the city’s power demand which is around 3,500 MW per day.
DERC has fixed at Rs 5.5 the cost of buying a unit of solar power, while a unit of thermal power is billed at Rs 3.90 to Rs 71, depending on the slab and consumption.
If a user sells more than he consumes, the discoms will credit payment to his account.
BSES have already received 50 applications and around 500 queries for net-metering. According to DERC guidelines, “The installation of net-metered rooftop solar systems on consumer premises will utilize the same service line for excess power injection into the grid which is currently being used by the consumer for drawl of power from utility network.”
This means that if the user likes to have a solar system with the installed capacity more than the sanctioned load, extra charges would be levied for a new line.
Since, the installation of such systems runs into lakhs, the scheme is better-suited for commercial and government buildings.
They not only have high rooftops and undisputed access, they can afford to generate more surplus solar power also. While the Centre provides a subsidy of 30% on solar equipment, the Delhi government discontinued it two years ago.
“It’s a progressive step. Now Delhi government should also come out with its solar energy policy, which is in the works for two years, so that people are encouraged to adopt net-metering,” said Pujarini Sen, campaigner, renewable energy, Greenpeace India.
Delhi has four discoms. BSES Yamuna Power Limited services central and east Delhi, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited is responsible for the south and west and NDPL caters to the north. The NDMC area has its own power firm.