Rooftop solar plan hits roadblock as net meters unavailable
GURUGRAM: Subscribers of the grid-connected rooftop solar power scheme in the city are worried about their investment in the wake of unavailability of net meters — a key component that gets the system started. The net meters distributed by DHBVN are currently unavailable because the power discom has blacklisted the company manufacturing them, sources said. Till it finds a new vendor, consumers will have to put up with the uncertainty.
The Haryana government had announced the solar rooftop policy in September 2014, making it mandatory for every home across the state with an area of 500 square yards or more to install a solar power system. The policy was also applicable for commercial and industrial consumers, besides hospitals, malls and hotels. And as per the guidelines of Haryana renewable energy department (Hareda), consumers in the domestic category receive an incentive of Re 1 per unit while industrial consumers get 25 paise per unit of power added to the grid.
The scheme offers twin benefits for consumers. The solar power system has to be connected to the supply line of DHBVN so that excess units generated are exported to the power discom. The power bill is determined by subtracting the number of consumed units from those of exported units. But consumers say the process seems to have hit a roadblock.
“We got an approval from Hareda in October last year and then we installed the solar power system on the rooftop. But it is lying unharnessed because DHBVN is not providing net meters,” said Alok Lal, a resident of Sector 17A.
Another resident who got the system installed for Rs 3 lakh said he regretted having spent such a huge sum. “I was swayed by advertisements about the solar power scheme and the benefits from it. But I regret now. I have not been able to operationalise the system since October. The reason is that net meters aren’t made available to us by the power discom. They talk such big things about solar power but on ground it seems the endeavour isn’t making any breakthrough,” said the South City 1 resident.
“When I approached the renewable energy department, officials told us to get in touch with DHBVN. But power discom officials told us that the vendor empanelled for selling net meters had been blacklisted for some reason,” he added.
Officials at Hareda admitted consumers were facing problem. “Having received several complaints myself, I am aware of the problem. We are looking forward to its quick resolution,” said senior official of HAREDA, Gurugram. “As of December 30, 2018, our connected solar rooftop power capacity stands at 7 MW. We are supposed to add 3 MW more in 2019,” he added.
Other observers also flagged concerns about the process involved in acquiring solar rooftop systems. “DHBVN should facilitate the procurement of net meters,” said Shubhra Puri, who heads Gurugram First, a group that promotes switch over to solar energy alternatives in Gurugram.
However, when contacted, KC Aggarwal, superintending engineer, DHBVN, told TOI, “If consumers are facing problems, I request them to approach our executive engineer (suburban division), Sachin Yadav, so that their problems are addressed on an urgent basis.”