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Discom moots plan to tap the sun,draw power from consumers

The power distribution company NDPL is discussing a bold new initiative with the Delhi government that will see consumers get involved in the process of generation — the preserve of the big power generation companies so far.

Written by Mandakini Gahlot | New Delhi |
June 2, 2009 1:03:26 am

The power distribution company NDPL is discussing a bold new initiative with the Delhi government that will see consumers get involved in the process of generation — the preserve of the big power generation companies so far.

The project aims to allow consumers install photovoltaic panels on their rooftops to generate solar energy which can be used for personal consumption with the surplus being fed into the grid for use by NDPL.

“The initial plan is to arrive at an agreement with consumers to install 1 KW photovoltaic panels. A standard 1 KW photovoltaic panel can generate 1300-1400 units of power every year. Consumers can use the energy generated and the surplus can be sold to NDPL,” said an NDPL spokesperson.

The discom has already tested the system by installing two solar plants — a 15 KW plant at its office premises and a 5 KW plant at one of its centres in Rohini. “Generating solar power is an expensive proposal. A standard 1 KW plant will cost Rs 2 lakh which is why we have approached the government to provide a subsidy on the solar panels,” the spokesperson said. The Delhi government already provides a subsidy to consumers installing solar water heaters.

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“Considering it is a project that will generate green energy and also go a long way in bridging the demand-supply gap,we are confident that the Delhi government will provide assistance. We have already submitted the proposal and a meeting is scheduled with the Delhi government this week to discuss details,” he said. The discom has also submitted plans to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to seek clearances. Once a solar panel is installed,the discom will monitor generation through a meter that will record the consumer’s personal consumption as well as the units fed into the grid. “We will enter into a power purchase agreement with the consumer; we are still to finalise the details,” the official said. “We could either compensate the consumer for the units fed into the grid by adjusting it in his bill or pay him. We are still working on the details.”

While the proposal is expensive,NDPL officials reason that costs will come down once it is popularised. “It sounds like a huge capital investment. But for a standard 1 KW panel that generates 1400 units a year,the consumer can reclaim his investment within a few years,” the official said. The discom will purchase power from consumers at rates specified by the government.

Officials are counting on the fact that solar energy is the greenest way of generating power. “Generating 1 unit of power in a conventional thermal plant requires 1 kg of coal,” the official said.

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