Delhi: Solar power can save you Rs 46,000 in yearly bill

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NEW DELHI: The city’s much-needed push for solar energy could be just around the corner with Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) finally notifying the group net metering (GNM) and virtual net metering (VNM) framework, which will benefit thousands of RWAs, households and CGHS societies.

Users will be able to benefit from a single solar plant at one location with the surplus energy being sent back to the grid and adjusted with the bill of each meter connected to it. This will, in theory, allow members of a society and consumers to reduce their monthly bills.

After the Delhi solar policy was issued in 2016, the power watchdog had constituted a committee for developing this framework and issued draft guidelines under DERC (Net Metering for Renewable Energy) Regulations, 2014 last year. The framework has finally been notified after objections and comments were collected from the general public by January 2019.

“The move will help in the promotion and deployment of renewable energy projects in residential and agricultural sectors benefitting lakhs of citizens and farmers. At present, we have about 630 net metering connections and this number will shoot up once we implement the order. We are in the process of making changes in the billing mechanism to implement it,” said a Tata Power-DDL spokesperson.

BSES said consumers can apply for net metering on their website. “We had earlier launched a Solar City Initiative to bridge the gap between the consumer and the vendor. Post-installation, BSES will carry out an inspection to assess the quality and check whether it has been done according to the minimum technical requirements,” said a BSES official.

At present, Tata Power has around 630 net-metered connections with a capacity of 25 MW, while BSES has 1,600 with a capacity of 60 MW. According to BSES, a 100kW plant can save up to 1,27,750 units annually equalling annual savings of Rs 9.26 lakh. A 5KW plant can bring annual savings of Rs 46,300.

The discoms said that to apply for the project, people can simply contact them after which a feasibility test would be carried out and bills assessed to find out the requirement for a household or colony. “Depending on the consumption and the bill amount, we will be able to decide on the solar panel capacity. Different CGHS societies are thriving with solar panels capacities ranging from 50kW to 200kW,” said a BSES official.

Vendors said the amount invested in a solar panel can be recovered in the form of savings in just 5-6 years. “This is a safe estimate and the actual invested amount is recovered in close to four years. There are immense benefits to go solar as the product is a long-term investment,” said Abhishek Dabas, co-founder at Zolt Energy, a private solar-panel supplying company.

Sanjeev Aggarwal, MD and CEO of Amplus Solar, said the risk in investment is generally low and savings can be as high as 90% of the total bill, depending on the plant size and consumption pattern. “On average, a 5kWp standard rooftop installation will cost Rs 3-4 lakh. If one opts for subsidy, they can avail 30% of the plant cost from MNRE through the state nodal agency,” he added.

However, Pujarini Sen, a campaigner at Greenpeace India, said the notification process has taken far too long to allow people to avail subsidies for solar plants. “The important thing now is to make the consumers aware about it and facilitate it, especially at the residential level. Once popular, the load on the grid and electricity bills will reduce, benefitting both the consumer and the discoms,” she added.

Source: Economic Times

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