Solar option yet to shine

The domestic rooftop solar plant market is yet to pick up on a large scale despite the advantages that would bring for those opting for solar power plants, in the city. A domestic consumer using more than 500 units and paying Rs. 6.60 per unit would not only bring down monthly electricity charges drastically, but also recoup the plant cost within a short period.

P. Ashokkumar, president, Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Developers Association, said the current cost of rooftops solar plant is probably its most realistic price. In fact, there could not be a better time than now, he added, considering there is a proposal pending with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to reduce the subsidy from Rs. 30,000 per KW to Rs. 11,250 per KW at the installation stage.

A senior official of Tangedco said the applications for net meter connection to roof top solar plants for low tension consumers had crossed 1,000 with the total connected load touching 12,000 (KW). When asked about the shortage of net meters, he said ample net meters are in stock. Moreover, the State government and Tamilnadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA), which is the nodal agency for solar energy project, have been constantly monitoring connections from the solar plants to the power grid.

However, this is far below the target of 350 MW (from rooftop plants) out of a total of 3,000 MW solar power, as announced in the Tamil Nadu Energy Policy 2012. The officials of Tangedco are hopeful that those consumers numbering about 10 lakhs who consume over 500 units would soon show some interest in installing rooftop solar plants.

The solar policy had envisaged 3,000 MW of clean energy by 2015 through solar purchase obligation (SPO), rooftop solar plants and renewable energy certificates (REC).

More and more educational institutions and residential schools have started installing rooftop solar plants to cut energy costs. Though the solar policy had made it mandatory for educational institutions and residential schools to install rooftop solar power plants, the proposal was set aside by the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity in 2014.

Venkatesh Raj, director, S.A. Engineering College, Thiruverkadu, said the college has been exploiting solar energy as fuel by installing rooftop solar plants and solar thermal plants for cooking purposes within the premises. Mr. Raj said rooftop solar plants of 20 KW capacity each have been installed in two out of nine blocks. He said: “Every year, we have planned to install rooftop solar plant in one block each. Once we fully achieve the return on investments for the solar plants, the power generated would be at nil cost.”

A number of institutions have come to realise the potential of going solar including Stella Maris College, Ramakrishna Mission Student’s Home, Madras Sanskrit College and Madras Christian College.

Solar energy production

3,000 MW by the end of 2015 (as envisaged by Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy, 2012)


Total capacity of roof top solar connections in the state is 12 MW (For domestic connections, rooftop consumed units are calculated after deducting the power evacuated to the grid through net metering).


Total number of applications for net metering of solar roof top plants in the state is 1,134 as of May 2015.


TNERC has fixed a tariff for solar power at Rs. 7.01 per unit for 1 MW and above.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 6:50:48 AM |

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