Unhappy with the decision of the Chandigarh electricity department to stop connections on gross metering, Chandigarh Renewal Energy and Science & Technology Promotion Society (CREST) has filed a petition with the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC), seeking direction to the department for resumption of gross metering connections.
Chandigarh has been selected by the Union government to be developed as a “model solar city”. CREST has to achieve a target of generating 50MW of solar energy, both residential and government, by 2022 through net metering and gross metering.
Net metering is an agreement that allows a consumer to sell excess solar energy to the utility, whereas in gross metering total solar power generated is exported to grid.
As per the solar tariff for the current financial year, the Chandigarh administration has fixed the buying rate at Rs 8.57 per unit with an aim to promote solar power. High tariff rate is the main reason behind stopping the gross metering connection.
The electricity department has been turning down the applications for gross metering move by residents on grounds that the high tariff will push the power purchase cost.
CREST CEO Santosh Kumar said they have urged the commission to ask the electricity department to start giving connection of gross metering. “We have requested the commission to ensure that there are no restrictions as it will get difficult for them to achieve the target of generating 50 MW solar power by 2022,” said Kumar.
The electricity department, on the other hand, has been pressing for framing a policy in this regard. The department caters to 2.15 lakh consumers, of which 1.75 lakh are in the domestic category.
The standoff with the power department is hurting CREST, which is already struggling to meet the target due to shortage of space in the city, which is spread in an area of just 114 sq km.
CREST in last three years has generated 20.36 million units (MU), which are equivalent to reduction of 1410 metric ton of CO2 and planting a total of 15.3 lakh trees. Of 20.36 MU, majority have been produced by plants on government buildings. So far, the response from private sectors has not been impressive.
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