With an aim of scaling up the present solar power generation in Gujarat, the state government is now all set to launch its much awaited project of grid-connected rooftop solar power units, wherein residential property owners will be encouraged to install this new system.
The Solar Rooftop project was initiated by Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA), which is the state nodal agency to promote renewable energy.
In the current fiscal of 2016-17, GEDA has set a target of generating 50 megawatt (MW) of electricity by installing such rooftop solar photovoltic (SPV) units across Gujarat.
According to GEDA Director J T Akhani, the rooftop solar project is for residential consumers only.
"There are several residents who have already installed solar power generation units on their rooftops. However, they are off-grid, as they are not connected with the electricity meter. This project is for those residential property owners who wish to connect their power units with the electricity grid," said Akhani.
"This project of grid-connected units has been proposed in the Gujarat Solar Power Policy, announced by state government in August 2015. This year, we are planning to install units having capacity of 50 MW. The installations will be done by our channel partners, saving time and energy of consumers in finding right contractor" said Akhani.
According to him, the project of installing rooftop solar units would kick start once the identification of residential consumers as well as channel partners gets completed within couple of months.
Till now, more than 150 residential property owners have already submitted their applications to GEDA for the installation of such solar units on their rooftops, he said.
"Though the rooftop project has been given a go ahead in the solar policy of 2015, the project did not gain momentum, mainly due to the cost involved in setting up such units. Thus, we have chalked out a subsidy plan to encourage people as well as channel partners to come forward," said Akhani.
"Normally, the cost of setting up a unit having ONE kilowatt load capacity comes around Rs 70,000. Thus, we have decided to give Rs 10,000 subsidy for commissioning a unit of 1 Kw. The subsidy is limited to the installation of 2KW, that is Rs 20,000. Additional units will not be eligible for subsidy," said Akhani.
To expedite the work, starting from receiving application to certifying the work done by channel partners, GEDA has also planned to set up a special cell to give various clearances.
"To meet our target of 50mw this year, we will engage in publicity drive to invite applications from citizens as well as channel partners. We are also planning to set up a special cell to co-ordinate between applicant, channel partner and distribution companies(DISCOMS)," said Akhani.
Apart from reducing load on conventional energy sources, such as coal-based power plants, the scheme would also benefit consumers, as they can actually reduce their electricity bill by almost half, said Akhani.
"Normally, the sanctioned load provided by electricity companies to a private consumer is around 6Kw. Thus, if he installs units having 3Kw capacity, his electricity bill would be reduced by 50 per cent. Since its grid-connected, the difference will be adjusted by the DISCOMS through the net metering system," said Akhani.