The Power and Energy Ministry will soon introduce a flat rate for all solar power producers in the country, while removing the maximum capacity limitations introduced under the “Battle for Solar Power” programme launched in 2016.
Accordingly, from 1 August, the solar power generators would be paid a flat rate of Rs. 19.75 for up to 50 KW for a contract period of 20 years while systems above 50 KW would be paid a flat rate of Rs. 18.75, also for 20 years.
The Power and Energy Minister Ravi Karunanayake highlighted that the introduction of a flat rate would be a positive development for the solar power generators as it would eliminate the gap between the upper and middle-class consumers.
Stressing the importance of promoting the solar power generators, Minister Karunanayake said that it was not fair for high-end customers to pay a higher price and others a lower price. With the introduction of a flat rate, which will be common for everyone, the quality would be assured.
Denying the allegations that he was discouraging solar power producers and going to stop rooftop solar power projects, the Minister said: “At the moment, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) buys power at an average of Rs. 23 and 24 and sells it at Rs. 16. The revenue of the CEB comes from only around 4% of the entire CEB network. Of this 4%, about 25% is charged Rs. 45 to Rs. 50 per unit. Some private renewable associations are targeting that Rs. 45 market and hitting the CEB’s financial inflow. What we’ve done is made a flat rate. You can produce whatever amount you want and the CEB would not care. The solar power associations have already agreed to this.”
“Earlier, there were restrictions. But now, there are no restrictions at all, and anybody can generate solar power in the future. We have not cancelled any agreement. But the agreements will lapse in July. After that, we will have a flat rate,” Karunanayake added.
Meanwhile, Solar Industry Association (SIA) President Kushan Jayasuriya said that the association had agreed to the CEB’s request to reduce the solar power prices but they were not informed about the scrapping of net metering and net accounting systems which are very popular.
“Lots of people have taken equipment and loans to install this. Now, it has become a public issue as these two models will be scrapped,” he stressed. “If there’s a requirement like that, the Ministry should discuss with the solar power producers,” he added.
According to Ministry Media Spokesman Director (Development) Sulakshana Jayawardene, the Ministry would soon seek Cabinet approval for the price revision. “In the beginning, it was supposed to review the programme when it reached the 100 MW limit, and now it had exceeded the 200 MW mark. However, considering the reduction of the prices of solar power equipment, the prices had been revised,” he stressed.
Thanks The Morning