Net meter supply dries up, solar plan runs out of energy

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Gurgaon: Vendors of solar power plants in Gurgaon claim they have not added a single consumer since September 2018 and the market is going down as the government is not releasing net meters, an essential component that will allow consumers to extract rebate. The subsidy and rebate was supposed to lure more residents into opting for grid connected solar power scheme.
TOI spoke to a number of vendors who said they are discouraged from working in Gurgaon. Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) and HAREDA officials, however, said that a fresh lot of 100 net meters was recently released and all were sold in Gurgaon-Faridabad. A new lot of 200 meters is expected soon, they said. But vendors have voiced apprehension that such slow and periodical release of meters won’t make any substantial difference.

“Since September last year, I have not added any new customer,” said a Gurgaon-based, who did not wish to be named. “Currently, I have around 20 customers in Gurgaon, but no one has got subsidy or net meter yet. Without net meter, the solar power system is merely a metal junk because no one will ever come to know how much the system is producing.”

A solar roof top installation allows consumers to become ‘prosumers’ which means that they can produce the electricity from solar panels during day and consume during night. If the electricity is in surplus, it will automatically go to the local discom power grid which are connected to the panels. The number of units that discom buys is then subtracted from the bi-monthly power bill of the consumer. It is this rebate along with the subsidy slab that Haryana Renewable Energy Department offers on buying solar panels from empanelled vendors.

Current solar power generation in Gurgaon stands at 28 mega watt. According to the estimates, the city can produce 200 MW of solar energy given its location on the map and based on the number of sunny days it gets but unavailability of net meters is discouraging customers, vendors say.

“This market is coming down. I have some 150 consumers in Gurgaon and they owe me around Rs 35 lakh. That is because while I have installed the panels at their roof-tops they will be lying idle until net-meters are available. Customers have refused to pay unless the system is fully operational,” said another vendor. “Customers are not getting bills at all,” he added. Similarly many more vendors also shared same concerns. Gurgaon has more than 200 vendors who supply solar equipment. HAREDA officials, however, said that more than 650 net meters were installed in the city since the scheme was announced. “I agree that fresh subsidies are currently not forthcoming due to unavailability of funds, but we are expecting the ministry of renewable energy to release the funds soon,” said a senior official from HAREDA.

Source: Times of India