Govt plans net metering to promote clean energy

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    KATHMANDU, JUL 17 –

    solar_gridIf everything goes as planned, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), a sole power utility responsible to charge consumers for electricity supply, will pay for the ‘excess energy’ generated by an individual consumer or an institution from installation of solar energy system instead.

    For the first time in the country, the government has provisioned a separate ‘net metering’ system that would allow an individual or an institution to bank on one’s own energy generated from the installation of rooftop solar photo voltaic system for later use or share for credits from NEA through the connection to the national grid system.

    The net metering is widely practiced in countries like USA, Germany and Japan to promote consumers’ participation in producing electricity from renewable energy sources and reduce the dependency on state provided energy system.

    Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, in his budget speech on Sunday, announced that the NEA would buy the excess energy to encourage the public to use solar energy system, including rooftop panels with capacity of more than 100 kilowatt, to produce electricity in large scale in Kathmandu and other urban cities.

    The government, however, is yet to finalise the rate of power purchase agreement with the individual or institution who take part in promotion of solar energy system.

    “This is a breakthrough in the promotion and development of renewable energy sector in the country,” says Ram Prasad Dhital, officiating executive director at the Alternative Energy Promotion Center, the government entity responsible for development and promotion of alternative and renewable energy.

    The annual budget has prioritised the utilisation of various renewable sources to meet the energy need and contribute to the mitigation of the ongoing energy crisis due to slackness in hydropower development. Dhital has suggested that the provision of net metering should focus more on self-consumption and reduction in use of state-supplied energy to reduce the NEA transaction cost.

    Various studies have estimated that Kathmandu and many other parts receive solar radiation at around 4.7 kilowatt-hour per metre square daily. Likewise, of the total 365 days a year, the country gets around 300 sunny days which is feasible to generate around 2,100 MW energy for grid connection.

    Source : eKantipur