Ministerial level discussions are currently underway to decide on subsidized terms of sale of rooftop solar PV plants through the state-owned Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), an official said yesterday.
Currently, rooftop solar PV plants could be purchased from the CEB’s state-owned peer Lanka Electricity Company Private Limited (LECO) at a subsidized interest rate of 8 percent. “Ministers are currently having talks on the possibility of giving lower rates and lower prices,” CEB Distribution Division 01 Additional General Manager Chulani Perera said at a Consumer Rights Forum organised by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL). He said that LECO was able to give subsidized solar plants due to having just 500,000 customers and making profits, while the CEB has six million customers.
The CEB is currently running at a loss according to the country’s finance minister.
Perera was replying to a disgruntled citizen during a consumer rights forum organised by the energy regulator, the PUCSL, in Colombo, who said that if he were a LECO customer he could have already purchased a solar plant and contributed to the national grid through net metering.
Earlier this year, the PUCSL directed both LECO and the CEB to connect domestic solar plants to the national grid within two weeks of the date of application. Sri Lanka is currently facing a possibility of a medium-term power crisis.According to the PUCSL, rooftop solar PV is considered to be one of the fastest technologies that can be installed and integrated into the grid among Sri Lanka’s available energy generating options.
The PUCSL has said that the aim is to add 200 MW of solar electricity to the national grid by 2020 and 1,000 MW by the year 2025. The PUCSL data shows that 7,904 domestic rooftop solar plants have been connected to the national grid by end-2016, totalling 42 MW of capacity, with 1,420 of the plants being connected through the government’s ‘Soorya Bala Sangramaya’ programme, which was launched last year.