Lanka to produce1000MW of solar power by 2025


by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Sri Lanka would add 1000MW of Solar Power (SP) to the national grid accounting for 20 percent of the total expected power requirement of the country by 2025, Power and Energy Deputy Minister Ajith Perera said yesterday.

Addressing the media at his ministry auditorium in Colombo, Minister Perera said a large number of domestic SP units as well as large scale SP units would be established under the new SP project, "Surya Bala Sangramaya" that would be launched by the Ministry on Sept. 06.

Solar Parks would be established in Southern, Northern and Eastern provinces of the country. The first solar park would be established at Siyambalanduwa and it would add 300MW to the national grid. Another 100MW Solar Parks each were scheduled at Valachchena and the Northern province, the Deputy Minister said.

The main SP generating system would be the domestic roof top solar panels and it would not be an additional cost to the government, the Minister noted.

It was expected to add 200MW SP to the national grid by 2020 through the roof top solar panels, he said, adding that the current total solar power capacity was 30MW.

He said the necessary technical know-how would be given by local engineers and that was the world’s first ever solar project that would cover three types of SP systems namely net metering, net accounting and net plus.

Highlighting the three systems, Perera said net metering was an old system and there were around 4,000 customers at present and it would not be changed but if they like they could shift to the new systems.

The net accounting system was a new method that would be introduced through the Ministry’s new SP project. According to that the customers would produce solar power at their homes and the extra power that would be produced by them would be given to the national grid and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would pay Rs. 22 per unit, he said.

Perera said under the net plus system the commercial and industrial facilities with large, flat, open rooftops could also use this method and could add SP to national grid and they could earn an income of Rs. 22 per unit.

The Deputy Minister highlighted that the government or the CEB would not provide solar panels and inverters to the people but the state banks, private banks and all other financial institutions had agreed to provide loan facilities at low interest rates to the people to buy solar panels and converters and that loan could be paid within five years through the money earned by the customers by selling the extra SP units to national grid.

The agreement would be for 20 years and during the first seven years, CEB would pay Rs. 22 per unit and after that it would pay only Rs. 15.50 per unit, he noted.

At the initial stages the government would not abandon all other power generating methods including diesel and coal but gradually it would alter the long term generation plan and give priority to renewable energy, Perera said.

During rainy seasons, the SP could not be generated and therefore people would get power from the national grid as they were already connected, he said.

The project would be launched from the President’s official residence and the President would receive the first net accounting connection, Deputy Minister Perera said.

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