The Sunday Leader

New CEB Rule Will Disrupt Solar Power Use

Solar Power in Sri Lanka and CEB 

by  Ifham Nizam

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has urged home solar system owners to conduct their own harmonic tests using their own testing equipment and validate it with CEB engineers.  This move has created an unease situation among the public and discourage them to move towards solar energy, Power and Renewable Ministry officials said.

“One would expect CEB, as the state owned utility in the country to conduct such a test using CEB’s own equipment as the Government encourages public to switch to solar energy as the best option for the clean energy and as the best way to face the booming energy demand of the country,” an official said.

A Harmonic tester would cost between Rs. 300,000 and 500,000 which is much more than even an average home solar installation would cost in total.

“Normally, any good inverter/ solar panel would come with its own certifications and quality standards which will again be verified by a charted engineer before submitting a net metering application form to CEB. That certification is presented with the net metering application,” Green Frontiers Private Limited, an environmental solution provider said.

He added: “Still, the CEB refuse to accept this and is trying to enforce its own process, without having equipments needed to execute such a quality process. Asking end users to buy their own harmonic testers might totally disrupt the solar power initiatives in the country.”

An inverter is a highly demanding power electronic device and plays a vital role in the solar renewable-energy market.

Testing of inverters for harmonics at sites is not recommended as the harmonics emission can be accurately measured only through a standard procedure in a properly equipped laboratory. Further, all the registered installers have obtained the approval from Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority for the solar inverters by examining the test certificates obtained from the accredited laboratories. Therefore it is not required to test the inverters at the site.

The Sunday Leader learns that 18 megawatts of power have been added to the national grid through the Government’s Soria Bale Sangramaya, – energy battle for the past two months.

However, barriers of CEB will discourage the electricity consumers and companies to go for solar in the future.

Experts say Solar will play a critical role in Sri Lanka’s power sector since the country is heading towards a power crisis with decreasing hydro reservoirs and pending repairs of Norochcholai power plant.

Not only that unavailability of adequate quantities of energy meters and bidirectional meters, delay in inspection site visits for estimate the cost of replacing meters, delay in providing estimates for the replacement of meters, after inspection site visits and delay in net meter installation and commissioning and grid connection after payment is made which is common to CEB as well as LECO make the Solar switch over worse.

Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator and Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) needs to lay their hands on this issue as it will create a negative impression on Solar Power, where the country is warned of a power crisis in coming years by PUCSL.

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