Analysis of Delhi Solar Policy 2015 [Draft]

The Delhi government has released a draft solar policy on 10th of September 2015. The policy would remain valid from 2015-2020. As of August 2015, Delhi has around 7 MW of installed rooftop solar capacity. With a target of 1 GW, this policy plans to grow the market by 150 times in the next five years. The policy further goes on to set a long term target of 2GW by 2025. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Management Centre (EE&REM) will act as the Nodal agency responsible for implementation of the policy.

It is not unusual to see such aggressive targets by states considering the national goal of 100 GW of solar. However, as Delhi is a small state and does not have access to land like other states, the Delhi policy had to be rooftop solar focused. This makes it an interesting one to look into.

The draft focuses on promotion and deployment of rooftop solar plants by way of mandates, incentives, and amendments in regulations.

The policy seems to build a comprehensive framework around rooftop solar generation and net metering. Delhi already has working net-metering (refer) in place but this policy goes a step further by facilitate aspects such as allowing building to export more than they consume, allowing multiple power consumers to have a single solar installation and allowing virtual net-metering, i.e., consumers can use rooftop space that is not a part of the same building as the power consumption. These steps will increase the addressable market size considerably.

Taking a cue from the neighboring state of Haryana, mandates have also been introduced in Delhi. The solar policy mandates all government and public use buildings with a minimum shadow free rooftop area of 50 m2 to install a solar PV plant. As yet, the policy does not mention if any penalties would be applicable if rooftop solar is not adopted.

A number of incentives have been mentioned in this policy such as exemption of electricity tax, open access charges, VAT, Entry taxes, CSS, Transmission, Wheeling and Banking charges. A limited amount of Generation Based Incentives (GBI) of INR 2/kWh would also be offered to consumers who meet the eligibility criteria of generating at least 1,000 kWh per annum; the GBI would be capped at 1,500 kwh/annum. GBI would be allotted on a first come first serve basis.

An amendment to various building by laws has also been suggested that would further ease the process of getting approvals from municipal corporation for developers. The policy has assigned various responsibilities to the SNA, DISCOMS and IPGCL to facilitate swift deployment of solar.

Rooftop solar is ideally suited for Delhi as the city has its peak power consumption in the late afternoon. Currently, DISCOMs end up buying this power at an expensive rate from outside the state. To ensure self-sufficiency, the policy mandates DISCOMs to procure 75% of their RPO from within the national capital territory.

On paper, the policy is definitely one of the most progressive in India. Privatized DISCOMs and track record of a decent beginning to the implementation of net-metering in the state gives us hope for effective implementation of the new policy as well.

Download the Delhi Solar Policy 2015 [Draft] here

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