Billing system, tedious procedure mar solar power scheme

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SHIMLA: Solar mission concerning rooftop solar plants scheme has hit a road block.

Solar mission concerning rooftop solar plants scheme has hit a road block. Himurja and HP State Electricity Board Ltd (HPSEBL) have failed to install software for billing “green energy” that the power board buys from individual power producers. 

Besides, Himurja, state executive agency for the solar mission, has a cumbersome procedure. It also does not provide 78 per cent subsidy to non-domestic users. 

“The whole procedure is cumbersome and companies, which have been authorised by Himurja to install rooftop solar systems, first insist on an NOC from the HPSEBL,” say the applicants. In many cases, the companies supply substandard material. Besides, the billing system has become a major problem for the beneficiaries, they add.

The applicants have urged Himurja to simplify the procedure as is the case in the neighbouring states where one can install the system according to one’s convenience. 

“The rooftop solar power scheme is meant only for domestic use and it should not exceed the limit of the sanctioned load allowed by the HPSEBL. The applicants, who install rooftop systems for non-domestic use, do not get 78 per cent subsidy,” rue young entrepreneurs. 

In the case of the Deputy Commissioners offices and other government offices, solar panels installed at rooftop are of one kw to 10 kw capacity. One kw solar panel produces just five units of electricity on a good sunny day that is not even sufficient to meet the power back-up demand when the main supply is disrupted during daytime, say office-goers.

The HP Secretariat solar system has been rendered useless as underground cables were damaged during the construction of a building behind its main building, say sources. The grid-connected solar system works only if the grid has power supply. 

Himurja Director KL Thakur says, “We have achieved the target of installing 8 MW solar energy under the rooftop scheme this year. The Central Government provides 70 per cent subsidy while the state gives 8 per cent subsidy on the installation of a solar power system. About 1,000 units ranging from one kw to five 10 kw have been installed by domestic consumers, who are entitled to 78 per cent subsidy”. 

Thakur says Himurja has authorised 73 private companies to install rooftop panels, which have a life of 25 years. The HPSEBL gives the NOC as it buys power from individuals at the rate of Rs 1.95 per unit. The billing system for solar power is a problem, but the HPSEBL is installing the necessary software, he adds.

Source: The Tribune