I attended a meeting this morning at BESCOM that was called by Mr. Manivannan to discuss Grid Tied Rooftop Solar in the BESCOM service area. I was invited following a question posed by me to Mani sir on another forum. Unfortunately, due to some confusion, I was the ONLY citizen attendee. I mostly kept quiet and listened to the discussion and only said a little bit at the end, when asked for my thoughts. There will be future meetings with invitations for interested citizens to participate, and we can also send representation.
Looks like BESCOM had done some efforts to frame rules for this in the past, but nothing much moved. They are getting requests for grid connected solar from citizens and hence there is some interest in this subject now. The meeting drew some conclusions, though I feel they were a bit ad-hoc and not based on sufficient analysis. Hence am intentionally steering clear of the conclusions at this point, because I'd like to intiate a discussion on some of the questions debated in the BESCOM meeting here within PRAJA.
Questions asked were:
(1) Why should BESCOM support grid tied rooftop solar - in other words- what is in it for BESCOM? THe way Mr. manivannan framed it- which would be the best department in BESCOM to own this baby?
(2) If a target were to be set for grid connected capacity within a period of one year - what is a feasible number? Who would be the most plausible customers? - Institutions? Apartments, communities, individual home owners?
(3) What should be the modality of buying power back from the consumer? What feed in tarriff sholuld be offered - if that were to be the approach?
(4) How to popularize the concept and get implementers?
THe broad message from Mr. Manivannan was that he wanted to set a target and identify an owner. Then he wanted the technical heads to put their heads together and work out the technical details, feed in tarriff etc. He celarly stated that he was not interested in the technicalities - that is the domain of his technical experts.
My take from the meeting is that - as the technical experts on how their network functions, it is upto BESCOM to derive the rules. I see the role of the public to push our side, make sure the proposed scheme is consumer friendly without un-necessary red tape, provide input on marketing and motivation. Some of the assumptions being made on these aspects appeared a bit questionable to me (though I did not express this thought out loud right in the first day itself).
It would be good to develop some thoughts on the 4 questions above, within this post for starters. If this picks up steam, we can convert it to a project. Please go ahead and write your thoughts. I will take up the job of occassionally summarizing the discussion and sharpening the discussion.