Move to encourage rooftop installations; PUCSL to introduce a legal framework to promote household generation
The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has decided to remove the legal barriers for consumers who wish to enter into electricity generation based on solar power.
Therefore, it has been proposed to exempt the electricity consumers who generate electricity on a small scale through rooftop solar power plants from obtaining a license to sell electricity to the national grid.
According to the Sri Lanka Electricity Act, as amended, no party is allowed to generate and sell electricity to the national grid without a license granted by the PUCSL. But, with the new decision, any electricity consumer could install a solar system at his or her residence/premises and generate and sell the electricity based on the agreement which can be signed between the said consumer and corresponding licensee (CEB or LECO).
All such parties will be exempted from the requirement of obtaining a generation license.
The decision comes at a time when the promotion of generation of electricity through renewable sources has become a major focus of the Government as well as private sector investors. The Government is currently in the process of implementing ‘Soorya Bala Sangramaya’ (Battle for Solar Energy), a solar power generation program, to encourage people to generate electricity for themselves.
Under this programme any household or premises owner with a valid electricity account can export the electricity generated through the solar system to the national grid under three schemes – Net metering, Net Accounting and Net Plus.
PUCSL expects the new measure to promote the uptake of more solar systems by the community.
“By granting the exemption, we are planning to minimise the barriers and encourage household rooftop solar systems,” said Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Director General Damitha Kumarasinghe.
“This will offer better opportunity for Sri Lankan electricity consumers to access environmentally-friendly and renewable sources of electricity for a reasonable investment,” he added.
By promoting solar-based generation among electricity consumers, it is expected to meet the daytime electricity demand through household-based solar plants, replacing the thermal plants operating during such periods. This will also facilitate the management of water resources more efficiently and effectively.
The current installed capacity is 3,900MW and the total installed capacity is expected to be 4,955 MW by 2020.
As per the CEB’s forecast, Sri Lanka’s electricity demand is expected to grow at 5.3% on average during the 2015-2034 period, while the peak demand is expected to grow at 4.7% on average.