Launched in 2014, the scheme makes it mandatory for residents living in an area of up to 500 square yards or more to install solar power plant on their rooftop. Residents can use the power generated while exporting the surplus units to the discom, which in return will provide a rebate to them. The solar panels, when purchased from empanelled vendors of Haryana Renewable Energy Department (HAREDA), come with generous subsidies.
But according to Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) guidelines, only direct consumers of DHBVN can avail it. Sushant Lok 2 Extension and Sushant Lok 3 get power from a single point connection (SPC) which the discom extends to the developer who then divides it into as many connections as number of consumers in the township.
Pawan Yadav, a resident of Sushant Lok 2 Extension said, “I decided to install a solar power plant, last year. I purchased it for Rs 75,000 but then HAREDA officials said that I could not get the subsidy of Rs 20,000 because I am not a direct DHBVN consumer. If I was eligible, this solar power plant would have cost me Rs 55,000 only.”
The scheme was supposed to encourage consumers to opt for alternative power sources. Gurugram has potential for generating solar power of 200 MW but only 27 MW is currently being generated.
“Only seven residents (of Sushant Lok 2 Extension) have purchased the solar power plant,” said another resident, adding, “None of them has got the subsidy and the remaining residents have got discouraged, knowing we can’t avail it.”
As per figures provided by the discom, there are 160 SPCs in the city, most of them in highrise apartments and condominiums. Some residents have sidestepped the policy loophole by installing a common solar power plant which draws power from the SPC, rather than from a sub-connection, and supplies electricity to areas such as lifts and corridors.
However, residents living in individual plots with rooftops find themselves in a lurch. Majority of such plotted societies are in Palam Vihar, Ardee City, Sun City, DLF 1, 2, 3 and HSVP sectors. TOI spoke to residents of these areas and it emerged that nearly all have recently become direct consumers of DHBVN though they were SPC consumers in the past. The latest addition is Ardee City which broke free of the builder’s jurisdiction, last year.
“We had encountered this problem as well,” said Chatali Mandotra, a resident. “But we have become direct consumers of DHBVN after our meters were replaced by new ones issued by the discom. Now, we look forward to availing the scheme.”
Experts said that such limitations were likely to crop up. “Initially, the rooftop scheme was aimed at societies and consumers with vast spaces. But as solar power gets increasingly commodified, the solar policy will need revision from time to time to meet new challenges,” said Shubhra Puri of Gurugram First, an NGO which promotes the use of solar power in city.
TOI spoke to senior officials at HAREDA who said that they had come across complaints in this regard. “As of now, we can do nothing about it. Only residents with a direct DHBVN connection will be able to export power to the discom, so the subsidy is for them,” an official said.
A DHBVN official admitted the problem and said, “HERC can come up with provisions that enable solar power consumers to export surplus power to the distribution system of the developer in an SPC society.” [ET ENRGY WORLD]