Sri Lanka’s battle for solar energy continues unabated despite false propaganda

Sri Lanka’s battle for solar energy continues unabated despite false propaganda

16 June 2019 07:01 pm

Sri Lanka’s battle for solar energy continues unabated despite obstacles and false propaganda by interested parties to derail the progress of the programme, Ministry of Power and Energy announced.

The country is nearing to achieve the target of adding 200 MW of power to the national grid by the year 2020 and the ministry has already devised plans to reach the target of obtaining another 800 MW of power from the private sector with state assistance to increase the grid capacity by 1000 MW by 2025.

The procurement process in the implementation of 300 solar power projects of 1 MW each has already commenced and tenders have been awarded for  126 projects up to now.

Tenders have also been called to install 150 MW more via  new solar power projects  and to set up  five solar power plants  of 10 MW each . 

Construction work of Sri Lanka’s first floating solar power plant is expected to be completed by November this year which will add 100 MW of power to the national grid.

This will also be the first project that uses Battery Storage technology to store power during the daytime, covering less than 4 percent of the entire surface area of the Maduru Oya reservoir, which is about 500 acres in extent.

The CEB pays Rs.22 per unit during the first seven years of roof top solar panel installation project and Rs15.50 during the next 8-20 years  under net metering system.

However after conducting progress review of the programme after the installing of 200 MW of solar power it has been revealed that the purchasing price has gone to Rs 45 per unit and  Rs. 22 from two other systems. 

A committee has been appointed to investigate into the issue of price discrepancy and other short comings in the battle for solar energy programme  and no price revision will be made until their report is received by the ministry.

This decision was taken at meeting with representatives’ solar power suppliers association under the patronage of Minister Ravi Karunanayake in the presence of ministry secretary Dr. Suren Batagoda.

Local investors have invested up to Rs. 2 billion in the industry so far. It has a potential contribution of US $ 4 million towards the power sector. There are 20,000 roof top solar power systems and 30,000 small scale enterprises involved in the industry with the potential to add 1,000 more systems next year.

The CEB issued a circular last month stating that it will not accept applications for solar power projects over 50 KW in size,” President Solar Industry Association, Kushan Jayasuriya claimed at a recent media conference.

The CEB and the Ministry officials informed the Association last week that net metering systems (carry forward of excess energy produced by solar projects in homes) will be cancelled, net accounting systems (sale of extra energy produced by solar projects in homes to the CEB) will also be cancelled and net plus tariffs (CEB buys all energy produced by solar projects) are to be drastically reduced rendering the scheme commercially nonviable, he said.

But the Power and Energy Ministry said that no changes will be made to the programme till they receive the committee report.