In an order which is seen as a deterrent to solar power generation, the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) has approved the sale of solar power to the Electricity Department at the rate of Rs 1.13 per unit, as against Rs 8.75 per unit which the Chandigarh Renewable Energy Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST) had demaned in a petition filed on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology.
Since the rate is uneconomical, CREST is planning to seek a review, said CREST CEO Santosh Kumar. “The order has been passed by taking capital cost as zero. We will be appealing against the order and also make the Ministry of Renewable Energy a party. The cost of generation is quite high. At least the cost at which other electricity is purchased should be given to us,” he said.
CREST has installed solar power plants on some buildings which, together, have a capacity of producing 2,790 KW electricity.
These plants are at Government College for Girls, Sector 11; GCG 42; Government College, Sector 46; Government College; Sector 11; IRB Complex, Sarangpur; Model Jail, Burail; Paryavaran Bhawan, Sector 19; Government School in Sector 46 and Government College of Commerce and Business Administration Sector 42. A plant at PEC is yet to be commissioned.
At present, the solar power produced at these plants is used for internal consumption of the buildings. Over the weekends, when the offices and the educational institutes are closed, the power produced is in excess of the requirement and can be sold to the Electricity Department.
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The JERC has stated that the Electricity Department is supposed to purchase 3 per cent of its power requirement from renewable energy sources. At present, only 0.4 per cent is solar energy, and the remaining comes from other sources.
Chandigarh is one of the model solar cities, as approved by the Government of India. The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil has laid special emphasis on promotion of solar power. It is proposed that solar power plants would be installed atop buildings of government schools.
Cycle stands in some schools also have solar power plants. Solar panels have been installed on the roofs of tenements constructed at Dhanas under the rehabilitation scheme. The new multilevel parking lot being constructed in Sector 17 will also have a solar power plant.