DU Solar Project: Tariff issue remains pending with Power Division for a final decision

Three years since the move, no headway has been made in the project to install rooftop solar power on Dhaka University campus due to tariff dispute.

After long negotiations between three parties—DPDC, sponsor company and the Dhaka University authorities—the issue now remains pending with the Power Division for a final decision, said the relevant official sources.

According to thevsources, DPDC received an unsolicited proposal from Bengal Solar, a local private firm, in 2019 to set up a 5 MW solar plant on the independent power producer (IPP) model through installing solar systems on the rooftop of the 72 residential, academic and administrative buildings.

The Bengal solar offered the tariff for the electricity at 10.25 Cents (equivalent to Tk 8.7125 per kilowatt hour (each unit) to sell it to the DPDC.

The sponsor company also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Dhaka University to rent out its rooftops for the green project.

But after submission of the proposal, the DPDC found the proposed tariff “higher than expected rate”, said a top official of the distribution company.

Later a tripartite meeting took place between the project’s private sponsor, rooftop provider and the power purchaser, but tariff remained a bone of contention between the stakeholders, sources in DPDC and DU said.

At one stage, the sources said, when the net-metering policy was introduced by the government to facilitate the consumers’ sale of unconsumed solar power to distribution companies, DPDC officials had skipped the negotiations and offered DU to sell the electricity under the new policy, which finally caused the delay in settling the issue.

And seeing the unusual delay, the DU authorities recently wrote a letter to the Power Secretary to intervene and settle the power tariff issue and expedite the project execution, UNB has learnt.

Finally, the DPDC made a detailed analysis of the tariff and sent the proposal to the Power Division a few months back seeking further directives on the issue.

Chief Engineer of DPDC Mohiuddin Ahmed informed that the DPDC forwarded the Bengal Solar’s proposal to the Power Division with full analysis.

“We’re now waiting for the further directive of the Power Division to settle the issue”, he told UNB.

Earlier DPDC had unsuccessfully tried to pursue different government agencies, including the Food Directorate, the Shilpakala Academy, the Women and Children Directorate, and the Education Directorate, for using their rooftops for the project, but none agreed.

Mohiuddin, however, said, though DPDC has failed to implement solar projects on different government office buildings, it has successfully installed solar systems on the rooftop of its own 36 office buildings.

Officials said the DPDC has initiated the move for solar power projects as part of the government plan to generate 10 percent electricity from solar system by 2020 to promote renewable energy across the country.

As per statistics of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda), the country’s solar power generation still remains at 542.44 MW while the total power generation capacity is over 23,000 MW.

Source: United News of Bangladesh