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Rooftop solar power sales growing fast in city

The sale of unconsumed rooftop solar electricity to government power distribution entities is rising fast in the capital city.

According to the latest statistics placed in a review meeting at Power Division, the number of such consumers who are selling their unconsumed solar power to the government distribution companies stood at 50 as of January 27, which was just three in December last year.

The rise is more significant in terms of volume, said a top official at Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) adding that all the purchases are being made under the Net Metering System introduced by the government recently.

He mentioned the volume of purchase was 13.3 Kilowatt peak (KWp) until December last which increased to 450 KWp in January this year.

“We’re really getting enormous response from consumers. We’re frequently getting new offers from our consumers to buy their unconsumed rooftop solar power,” Ramiz Uddin, executive director of DPDC, told UNB.

The DPDC is responsible for power distribution in the Dhaka city`s central, southwest and eastern parts, and in Narayanganj city.

The government has introduced the NMS as part of its strategy to encourage the use of green energy across the country.

As part of the policy, the Power Division on July 28 last unveiled the "Net Metering Guideline 2018" to buy rooftop solar power from consumers.

Officials said the Power Division had issued an official order in August last to all the six power distribution entities of the country asking them to purchase rooftop solar power from at least 20 consumers within the next three months under the Net Metering System.

Initially, the big consumers, especially the commercial and industrial, were targeted for such business which rooftop power remains unconsumed during their holidays and weekends.

Following the instructions, all the power distribution entities, including Desco, DPDC, REB, Nesco, WZPDC and PDB moved to buy unconsumed solar power from their respective consumers.

Within a few months, the national gird received over 3.0 MW of electricity from the consumers.

Under the system, any consumer can set up rooftop solar system covering up to 70 per cent capacity of the sanctioned load and sell the additional or unconsumed solar power after meeting his/her demand through a special metre under an exchange arrangement.

Consumers will use their own solar power alongside the grid. But on holidays when solar power is not used, they can sell power to the national grid.

Even, on the working days, they can preserve their solar power to the grid and sell it to his power supplying company or take it back for its own consumption.

At the end of the month, bills will be adjusted on the basis of consumption and sales of solar power to the utilities and the consumer will get payment from the distribution company at a bulk rate if his sale overruns the consumption.

Power Cell officials believe the government will be able to buy about 10-12 MW power from rooftop consumers as many large clients like industries, apartment complex, shopping malls and hotels have already set up rooftop solar power plants for their own consumption as part of the government policy.

Even, individual consumers, who installed rooftop solar power system, can sell additional electricity to the government under the Net Metering System.

Officials said the government has initiated the move to introduce the system aiming to promote rooftop solar energy across the country as part of its plan to generate 10 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

There is a target to generate 3,168 MW of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2021 in compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well, said an official at the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda).

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