India’s solar policy redraft aims for more power

Having a share of 66 per cent of the city’s total power generation, Delhi’s coal-based power plants are a ticking time bomb. They are old and are the biggest air pollutants with the highest manmade carbon dioxide emissions. While the Delhi government has no plans to shut these ailing in-house power-cum-pollution generation units; it is instead working out ways to harness solar energy. While it is redrafting the much needed solar policy for the city, it also intends to give roof-tops to companies to generate solar power.

According to statistics with the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), the city at present generates only about 10-15 mega watt power through solar energy – this when Delhi receives around 350 days of sunlight in a year. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is planning to install Photo-Voltaic (PV) panels in its major buildings, especially in its offices and hospitals.

“We are looking into letting out our buildings to harness solar power. Any company having the expertise in the field is invited. It would build, operate and maintain the power units and sell it to the discoms. For commercial use, solar power is a cheaper alternative. They now pay Rs. 8,75 per unit whereas, price of solar power has come down to Rs. 5.50 per unit. Our long-term aim is to generate 1000 MW of solar power,” said Power Minister Satyendra Jain. The long-pending solar policy which was shelved in 2013 is being reworked, said government officials. Sources within the government said, the policy includes cross-subsidizing power generation and costs and is also likely to make 10-15 per cent of solar energy mandatory in the total power consumed.

Good news for those thinking of opting for solar power is that prices may fall by 5-6 per cent on an average. “In just two years, the cost of solar power has halved. From being sold at Rs 12-15 per unit in 2013, the price has come down to an average of Rs 6. It would only reduce hereon,” said PD Sudhakar, chairperson DERC.

The power regulator, last year, had also introduced the significant net-metering system under which individual establishments can generate power in their own premises. The surplus power generated could then be sold to the power grid. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy gives subsidies between 15-30 per cent to such participants.

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has already taken up the project.

Source: The Hindu

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