With the State experiencing acute power shortage, experts have stressed the need for the government's intervention in adopting measures such as net metering that is yet to be introduced in the State.
Net metering can become a very productive option for reducing power shortage. This methodology is used in a number of countries and helps to promote the use of renewable energy facilities among the public. A proposal will be submitted to the government at the earliest, former director of the Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) P.B. Sugathakumar told The Hindu.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a one-day seminar on Energy Conservation Techniques organised by the Energy Management Society, Thiruvananthapuram, in association with the Energy Management Centre in the city on Sunday.
Net metering is an electricity policy for consumers who own small renewable energy facilities such as solar power or home fuel cells. Under net metering, as the owner contributes the excess power (power generated from renewable sources) back to the main power grid, he receives the bill only for what remains after deduction of the excess power that was contributed. The net power consumption will be registered with the deduction of any energy outflows from metered energy inflows.
The use of net metering will reduce the pressure on the grid, especially during peak hours. This makes the people play an active role in alternative energy production, Mr. Sugathakumar said.
The implementation would require the authorities concerned to look into replacing the current electricity meters with a reverse metering system that can accurately record in both the directions. There should be provisions to check the quality of the equipment and ensure that it is International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)-certified. Anti-islanding facility should be provided to ensure the safety of the workers. If a distributed generator continues to generate power even though electrical grid power from the electric utility is no longer available, it may pose danger to the workers. The anti-islanding facility detects such problems and immediately stops producing power.
Solar power is not a preferred electricity source owing to its high capital costs, but providing net metering would encourage the consumers to switch to solar lighting to a large extent. An upper limit to the amount of electricity that could be supplied to the power grid has to be fixed. If the consumers have excess power than the upper limit, they must obtain prior permission from the authorities, he said.
Kerala Energy Management Centre director K.M. Dharesan Unnithan, in his session on Energy Conservation-Household Equipments, spoke of the need to initiate domestic energy saving.
A demonstration of various renewable energy sources, such as solar lighting equipment and biogas plant, was held as part of the seminar.