Strategies to harness Bengaluru’s solar potential

Ashok Thanikonda, Deepak Krishnan

Abstract

Solar energy is a key component of cities’ climate mitigation and energy security plans, due to its ease of installation & operation and drastic decline in costs.

In Bengaluru, residential, commercial and industrial (C & I) consumers contributed to around 85% of the electricity consumption and resultant emissions during 2014 and 2015. What are the options for these consumers within the ambit of current policies to procure solar power? Are changes required in these policies to scale up the adoption of solar power?

WRI India has explored two possible options – off-site and on-site procurement of solar energy.

On-site procurement

In 2013, net-metering which allows export of excess power to the grid was not available in Bengaluru. This, in addition to expensive electricity storage options meant that the complete potential of an on-site solar plant could not be realized.

WRII has found that net-metering regulations for rooftop solar projects in Karnataka, introduced in November 2014, were met with moderate success among C & I consumers. The adoption among residential consumers was slow due to information gaps about financial parameters, net-metering procedures and credible installers.

On May 2, 2016 gross metering scheme is introduced for both categories of consumers. WRII intends to look into the effectiveness of the new scheme.

Off-site solar procurement

Grid-connected solar power projects in Karnataka, commissioned before 31 March 2018, were exempted from payment of wheeling, banking charges and cross subsidy surcharge for the first 10 years for sale to 3rd party customers.

Since the typical payback period for a utility scale solar project is around 7 years, this order provided long term clarity for investors, solar project developers and consumers. For certain categories of consumers (commercial), the exemption meant that solar energy became more viable. 

However, challenges in procuring land and bottlenecks in power evacuation, may delay the large scale deployment of solar projects to the latter half of 2016.


Keywords

Bengaluru;solar;on-site; off-site; roof-top; policy; residential; commercial; industrial

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/JSUPP.2017.01.003
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