Delhiites power their own homes

  • Neha Pushkarna, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 07, 2015 01:02 IST

The Kapoors in Kailash Colony, the Ghais in Bijwasan and the Seshadris in GK II have turned out smarter than those waiting for a solution to city’s power woes.

They decided to spend a few lakhs and installed solar power panels on their rooftops, which have now been net-metered by the BSES. This means they are generating solar power and use it to run all kinds of appliances at home, depending on the capacity of their plant. As a result, their power demand from the grid has come down by 50% in some cases.

If they generate more solar power than they use, it goes directly into the discom network. At the end of the month, the discom bills them only for the ‘net’ power used by them from its grid. For the first time, if the users supply more power than what they draw, the discom will credit an amount against the purchase in the user’s account.

“There are 60 houses in Block-A of Kailash Colony where I live. If all my neighbours do the same... There will never be a power cut again,” said Ashwani Kapoor, who got his net-metering energised on April 7. The first step to get solar-powered is to look for a company that can install the equipment on the rooftop. There are many in the market but only those with in-depth, practical knowledge and a willingness to customise should be hired, suggests Kapoor.

Anyone with a sunlit terrace and the right to access it can mount the solar panels. There are two ways of doing it — either purchasing a plant or involving a third party that will set up the system on your roof-top and give you the solar power at a reduced rate. The firm hired to do the job will also provide a converter, wiring and connection of the solar power to select few or all plug points. Once the system is functional, apply to a discom for net metering using a form available on their website. They will check for feasibility and install a meter linking it with their grid meter. "The entire house should have LED lighting and there is no fluctuation as people think," said RS Seshadri, a resident of GK II.

The system is designed such that the switch to solar or grid power is automatic. Surindar Ahuja, vice-president, Medor, a biotechnology company, said people in the Capital are more fascinated with the system than ever before. “A 1-1.2 kW system can be installed over just 60 square feet area. And 1 kW costs Rs 1 lakh. If a family consumes 800-900 units of grid power every month, they can install a 5kW system for about Rs 6 lakh that will produce 750 units in a month. Payback time is usually three years,” he said.

Users, however, complain that there is no government push. Delhi had, in fact, stopped a subsidy of Rs 6,000 for solar water heaters in 2012 and a policy on the same is still pending. All calls to know the status of the scheme went unanswered. Meanwhile, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited has announced it will generate 400 MW of roof-top solar power in commercial and industrial buildings by 2022.

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