CSE welcomes Delhi government’s draft solar policy which makes installation of solar panels on government-owned, commercial and residential buildings mandatory.
Delhi aims to achieve 1 GW of solar power by 2020 and 2 GW by 2025 catering to 21 per cent of peak load demand, according to the policy
CSE has advocated for promotion of solar power and other renewable sources of energy, moving away from thermal power, and finds Delhi’s draft solar policy to be exhaustive
CSE would like the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to promote a similar policy for the country and also those buildings of Delhi which are owned by the central government
NEW DELHI, September 3: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has welcomed the draft Delhi Solar Policy and has congratulated the Delhi government for the step. The Delhi Dialogue Commission presented the draft policy which aims at achieving a target of 1 giga-watt (GW) or 1,000 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar installation by 2020 and 2 GW by 2025. CSE has advocated for promotion of solar power and moving away from thermal power which has serious consequences on the environment. “The state policy is very exhaustive and addresses issues regarding net metering, grid connectivity and even access to loans at preferential interest rates,” says CSE’s Deputy Director General Chandra Bhushan.
The draft Delhi Solar Policy mandates solar rooftop installations for government buildings and for the commercial and residential buildings that are constructed after September 1, 2015. However, there is no such binding on the existing commercial and residential buildings. The policy has a clear vision and has presented a roadmap on how the state plans to achieve these ambitious targets. Incidentally, it is the highest target set by any state till date in India for rooftop solar power plants.
The policy not only addresses access to loans, but will also provide a generation-based incentive (GBI) of Rs 2 per solar unit generated for the first 3 years of the policy period. This incentive will make investment in rooftop solar more attractive and financially viable.
CSE believes installing solar plants on rooftops is a great way to manage the peak load for the state. According to the projections in the policy, rooftop solar will cater to 21 per cent of the peak load demand by 2024-25. Also, the reducing cost of solar power generation will help in increasing investment in rooftop and thereby addressing electricity shortages and management of peak load.
Little to criticize
CSE feels that the only point where some criticism is due for the policy is that after installing rooftop solar and reducing power consumption from the grid, residential consumers will be charged on the same slab as before the installation. Delhi charges consumers for electricity according to a slab system – the consumer that draws fewer units of power is charged a lower tariff which keeps on increasing with increase in consumption. Bhushan commented “Charging a higher slab is a disincentive for residential users. I would say that through net metering if the bill goes to a lower slab then lower rates should be applicable.”
CSE believes implementing this policy will be a step in the right direction in solving Delhi’s electricity problems. “If the past is any indication, most government, institutional and commercial buildings will demand exemptions. Exemptions should not be permitted if the state government wants to achieve the targets they have set out,” said Bhushan.
Also, the fact is that in Delhi a lot of buildings are owned by the central government. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy should endorse a similar solar rooftop policy and make it mandatory for the central government buildings to encourage installation, said Bhushan.