22 June 2016 | Jyoti Gulia
The Delhi government approved its first solar policy on June 6, 2016. The policy understandably focuses on rooftop solar development because of shortage of available land space in the city. It has many innovative provisions and provides for exemptions and simplification of procedures for rooftop system installation.
The policy introduces ‘Group Net Metering’ for the first time in India, whereby surplus energy exported from a solar plant can be credited against consumption at any other location of the same entity within the same DISCOM territory. In another first for India, the policy introduces ‘Virtual Net Metering’ whereby consumers with insufficient rooftop space can co-invest in a solar power system at any other location and get pro rata benefit of electricity output.
The policy also proposes to make several improvements to the existing net metering by providing for several tax and operational exemptions. Key highlights are:
The introduction of new concepts such as group net-metering and virtual net-metering really sets this policy apart. Group net metering concept would be most beneficial for large consumers with multiple buildings and electricity connections.
Given factors such as high afternoon peak demand and low potential for any other locally available renewable source of power, rooftop solar makes the utmost business case for Delhi. Delhi has to buy expensive power on a short-term basis to meet peak day time demand in summer months. This expensive thermal power can be replaced by locally developed rooftop solar power.
BRIDGE TO INDIA estimates rooftop solar potential of Delhi to be 2.5 GW (refer). Out of this, 26% potential exists in the government/ public sector, 25% in commercial/ industrial sector and 49% in domestic sector.