Energy

Delhi rolls out first-ever solar policy, aims at 1,000 MW by 2020

Policy introduces novel initiative such as virtual net metering that has been especially framed for the city residents

 
By Sridhar Sekar
Last Updated: Tuesday 07 June 2016

As of February 2016, Delhi has installed nearly 12 MW of solar plants and ranks second in the northern region after Punjab
Credit: Oregon State University/Flickr

The Delhi government on Monday rolled out its first-ever policy for solar energy with an aim to make it a solar city. The draft policy was released for public comments on September 2015 and approved by the cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday. Implementing such a comprehensive solar policy for Delhi is one of the 70-point agenda of the Aam Aadmi Party. The policy aims to add around 1,000 MW of solar power by 2020 and 2,000 MW by 2025.

“The policy is very progressive (and) will help in providing clean and green energy,” Kejriwal said. He added that “rooftop solar systems offer sustainable energy, environmental benefits, low-gestation period and minimum transmission and distribution losses”.

As of February 2016, Delhi has installed nearly 12 MW of solar plants and ranks second in the northern region after Punjab. The new policy aims to add 30 MW in 2016 and the annual capacity addition is set to increase every year till 2020 and decrease after that.

The central government has set a target of 1,100 MW for Delhi by 2022. However, the newly released state government policy has superseded that target and kept 1,500 MW for 2022. Delhi is one of the few states to target more than the obligated target set by the central government.

Salient features of the policy

  • With an aim to reduce the payback period, the government provides generation-based incentive of Rs 2 per kWh for total solar energy generated by the consumers till December 2018
  • The policy mandates deployment of solar plants on all existing and proposed buildings of government organisations, hospitals, educational institutes and other state government properties
  • For non-governmental properties the state shall encourage the deployment of solar plants
  • During the operative period of the policy, which is five years, several exemptions are available for solar plants such as exemption on open-access charges, conversion charges, VAT, wheeling, banking charges, cross-subsidy charges, transmission charges and electricity tax
  • No approval will be required from concerned municipal corporations or other urban development bodies like the Delhi Development Authority for setting up solar plants
  • Within 15 days of consumers’ request for net metering connection, the existing meter will be replaced by a bi-directional meter by discoms

Novel initiatives

Among all the state solar policies, the Delhi government in its new policy has introduced two new sub-categories of net metering called group and virtual net metering.

In group net metering, a consumer owning several buildings within the same discom territory can virtually group the rooftop space of individual buildings and treat them as a single net metering connection. The purpose of this is to maximise the utilisation of rooftop spaces in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. Consumers, who do not own an exclusive rooftop space, can collectively build a solar system and be a partial owner of the benefits which is called virtual net metering.

The NCT of Delhi is a space-constrained region where ground mounted solar plants do not come into the picture. Since most of the residents in Delhi stay in apartments with shared rooftops, these two net metering models will suit Delhi conditions.

Graph created by the author. Data source has been taken from the policy document.

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