Tamil Nadu was the first state to roll out the solar net-metering project in the country after passing the Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy in 2012.
While the state government zealously pushed for the solar net-metering project to bring down the power demand, especially during summer months, sources said Tangedco had clandestinely discouraged consumers by not putting any measures in place to implement it fearing a loss of revenue.
“Over the past six months alone, 25 mw of roof top solar power had been installed in houses but Tangedco had not provided solar net-meters to the houses fearing loss of revenue. In total, over 140 MW of solar power panels have been installed in domestic facilities but none of the consumers have benefited from the scheme,” said a top official at Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA), on request of anonymity.
The major problem is that the net-meters are either not provided or there is no record of electricity supplied back to the grid.
“When consumers fit the solar panels and approach Tangedco for net-meters, they are made to wait for several months and because of the shortage in supply, many have not connected the panels to the houses,” the official added.
“Since 2014, Tangedco had not developed a software to monitor the number of units, generated through solar power panels, that is exported to Tangedco from the domestic consumer. The bi-monthly bill is generated based on the number of units consumed from Tangedco minus the number of units generated from solar power, but the actual export data is not calculated, and public are not getting any money for the export of units generated from their solar panels as promised by the state government,” the official said.
Speaking to DT Next, Vikram Kapur, Chairman and Managing Director, Tangedco, said the software to calculate the export of units generated through solar power to Tangedco is under testing and once approved will be rolled out soon.
“If the software gets approved, the normal digital meters will be converted into solar net-meters by a simple procedure and at free of cost,” said Kapur. He added, “We have sufficient solar net-meters and I have conveyed the information to TEDA” said Kapur.
When asked if Tangedco discouraged consumers from using the scheme, Kapur said while initially there was apprehension that the board might suffer losses due to the project and thus discouraged consumers, they are now ready to bear the loss and pursue state policy.
“Despite so many people switching to solar power, the installed capacity of roof top solar power is just one percentage of the total demand of the state,” he said.
Solar net-metering is a concept in which consumers who fit solar panels on their roofs, have to connect the grid to a specialised bi-directional meter which will record both the units used by consumer from Tangedco and also the export of electricity to Tangedco.