Sri Lanka removes license requirement to promote roof-top solar power

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s utilities regulator has removed a requirement for a license for consumers wanting to generate electricity through roof-top solar power with the aim of promoting more renewable energy use and reducing thermal power generation.

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) said it has decided to remove legal barriers for consumers who wish to enter into the electricity generation based on solar power.

It said in a statement it will exempt 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.

Under the Sri Lanka Electricity Act no one is allowed to generate and sell electricity to the national grid without a license from the PUCSL.

“But with the new decision, any electricity consumer could install a solar system at his or her premises and generate and sell the electricity” to the Ceylon Electricity Board or Lanka Electricity Company, the two distributors, it said.

“All such parties will be exempted from the requirement of obtaining a generation license.”

The decision came at a time the promotion of renewable energy sources has become a major focus of the government and private 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, PUCSL said.

Under this programme any household or premises owner with a valid electricity account can export the electricity generated through the solar power system to  the national grid.

PUCSL said it expects the new measure will promote the uptake of even more roof-top solar power systems.

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“By granting the exemption, we are planning to minimize the barriers, and encourage the household rooftop solar systems,” Damitha Kumarasinghe, Director General of Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka said.

By promoting solar based generation among electricity consumers, it is expected to meet the day time electricity demand through household based solar plants, replacing the thermal plants during such periods, PUCSL said.

“This also facilitates management of water resources more efficiently and effectively,” it said.

Sri Lanka’s electricity demand is expected to grow at 5.3 percent on average during 2015 – 2034, and peak demand to grow at 4.7 percent on average.
(COLOMBO, Nov 30, 2016)
 

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