Government Announces Policy to Make Delhi 'Solar City'

The government said building bylaws were amended for rooftop solar installations up to the height of two metres

NEW DELHI, June 6: Giving a major push to clean energy, the AAP government today came out with an ambitious policy announcing incentives and tax breaks to promote solar power and making it mandatory for government and public institutions to install rooftop solar panels.

The solar policy, finalised at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, aims to make Delhi a "solar city" through generation of 1,000 megawatt of power by 2020 and taking it further to 2,000 MW by 2025.

The government said building bylaws were amended for rooftop solar installations up to the height of two metres.

The height of the structure carrying solar panels will not be counted towards total height of the building as permitted by building bylaws, except near airports where building regulations issued by the Airport Authority of India take precedence, said a government official.

He said no approval will be required from municipal corporation or other urban development bodies concerned like DDA for putting up solar plants including any additional system for monitoring the performance of solar plant in existing or new buildings.

The support structure on which rooftop solar panels are installed will be treated as a temporary structure built in accordance with local building codes.

"Making Delhi a solar city is one of our 70-point agenda.

This policy which is very progressive will help in providing clean and green energy," said Kejriwal.

He further said rooftop solar systems offer sustainable energy, environmental benefits, low gestation period and minimum transmission and distribution losses.

The policy outlined a combination of regulations, mandates, incentives, and tax breaks for the growth of rooftop solar power in the capital.

The policy mandated deployment of solar plants on all government-owned rooftops in the next five years. It requires private power distribution companies to meet at least 75 per cent of their solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO) within Delhi.

Government said it was taking up with MCDs and New Delhi Municipal Council for exempting electricity tax, which is currently 5 per cent, on solar power.

Government is in consultation with Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission to provide exemption on various other charges. It may exempt wheeling, banking and transmission charges for solar energy within Delhi.
The policy also exempts certification by electrical inspector to solar system up to 200 KWp and self certification will be accepted.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Management Centre (EE&REM) of Power department will be nodal agency responsible for effective implementation of this policy in consultation with the state government, eligible consumers, the central government, other states and different stakeholders.

To encourage solar plants on rooftops of buildings that cannot consume all of the energy generated locally, discoms will facilitate group net metering whereby surplus energy exported to the grid can be adjusted in any other electricity service connection of the consumer.

This provision will maximize utilisation of rooftop space for solar energy generation for consumers with multiple buildings and service connections.

Also, to give access to the solar net metering facility for consumers who do not have a suitable roof for installing a solar system, such as residential consumers who live in apartments, consumers with shaded rooftops, there will be facility of virtual net metering.

In virtual net metering, consumers can be beneficial owners of a part of a collectively owned solar system whose energy will be fed into the grid through an energy meter and credited in the electricity bill of each participating consumer.

The policy approves a non-capital subsidy model for implementation of the targets outlined by it.

It provides for performance based incentives or Generation Based Incentive (GBI) of Rs 2 per unit for domestic households coming forward for installation of solar panels on first come first served basis. It will be applicable to solar plants which generate more than 1100 units per KW per annum.

Delhi government will facilitate capital subsidy, 30 per cent at present, provided by Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, to the domestic consumers for which the exercise of empanelment of vendors is already under process.

The government plans to conduct awareness campaigns in Delhi and facilitate technical training for aspiring solar industry professionals to spur growth of solar power.