Delhi's BSES Launches Solar City Initiative to Boost Rooftop Installations

In line with the union government’s endeavor to expand the use of green energy, Delhi’s major distribution company (DISCOM), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL), has launched an initiative called Solar City in the national capital.

The initiative is designed to increase solar rooftop installations in the city. Hailed as the country’s first solar rooftop consumer aggregation program for residential buildings, the Solar City initiative will provide installations for entire apartment complexes at a single point.

According to news agency Press Trust of India, BRPL launched the initiative in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – PACE-D and the Indo-German Collaboration (GIZ).

Listing the benefits for consumers, the DISCOM said in a statement that a single-point delivery consumer utilizing solar rooftops could save an average of about ₹750 (~$12) per month for 25 years. “Moreover, to set up the solar plant, a 30 percent capital subsidy will be provided by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) along with a ₹2 (~$0.032) per unit generation-based incentive allotted to a limited number of early projects by the Delhi government,” PTI reported the BRPL’s statement as saying.

The Solar City announcement comes less than a month after MNRE released a proposal to overhaul  India’s rooftop solar implementation mechanism by making it the responsibility of DISCOMs. The proposal is designed to accelerate the new rooftop solar installations. Under it, DISCOMs would be eligible to receive financial assistance to the tune of ₹234.5 billion (~$3.66 billion) based on their performance in facilitating rooftop solar deployment. The concept, if approved, would serve as the basis for MNRE’s revised Phase-II rooftop solar program.

The Solar City announcement also represents a step forward in BRPL’s efforts to meet its Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO). It will also provide some relief to overburdened power distribution companies.

The new program comes as stiff financial penalties are being planned for agencies that fail to meet their RPO requirements.

In July 2017, Mercom reported the draft regulations put forth by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) for RPOs and RECs for the financial years 2017-2020.

In the draft order, DERC specified that any obligated entity that fails to fulfill its specified RPO during a financial year will be liable to pay a penalty to the area distribution licensee. The penalty will be computed by multiplying the RPO shortfall by the floor price of the solar REC for the shortfall of the relevant year.

According to MNRE, Delhi had rooftop solar installations totaling 55 MW in November 2017.

Image credit: AAP Delhi