NEA Focuses on Solar Energy during Dry Season

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NEA Focuses on Solar Energy during Dry Season

February 25: Since the flow of water in the rivers decreases during the dry season, the electricity production is reduced. So, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has recently prioritized solar energy to facilitate energy supply.

Kulman Ghising, the managing director of the NEA, confirmed that the authority has prioritized solar energy.

The authority had adopted a policy of consuming only 10 percent of the total electricity connected to the national grid from solar energy.

Ghising said that the NEA has now adopted the policy of consuming 10 percent of solar energy in the total installed capacity as per the power purchase agreement (PPA).

Nepal, which exports electricity during the rainy season, has to import electricity from India during the dry season. Ghising said that solar energy is necessary to meet the domestic demand of electricity during the dry season.

In line with the policy of prioritizing solar energy, the NEA has granted survey permission to 42 companies for 735 MW of solar energy in the last four years. During this period, 14 companies have taken permission to build solar power plants of 99.36 megawatts. Similarly, the NEA has issued survey permission for 77.2 MW solar energy only in the current fiscal year (FY).

The authority, which has adopted the concept of energy mix by giving preference to solar energy, has been purchasing solar energy on the basis of competition. Earlier, the authority was buying solar energy at Rs 7.30 per unit, but since February last year, it has been buying it at Rs 5.94 per unit. This is the maximum tariff.

According to Ghising, the electricity production capacity has now dropped to about 10 percent. With the onset of winter, the water level in the rivers decreases, affecting the production of electricity every year. Therefore, the authority is importing electricity from India from mid-November.

Electricity worth Rs 2.5 billion has been imported as of mid-February. Ghising says that since the country needs to step up imports of electricity in February, March and April, the NEA is forced to import electricity worth Rs 3 billion to Rs 4 billion rupees every month during the dry season.

Due to the decrease in water flow in the river, the production of the Kabeli Corridor with an installed capacity of about 200 MW is now only 20 MW. This year, drought has greatly increased due to the lack of rain and snowfall.

What is the possibility of solar energy production?

According to the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, there is 10,30,000 hectares of barren land in Nepal. Stakeholders say that even if only 1 to 2 percent of that land is used, the production of solar energy in Nepal can be overwhelming.

According to Kuberamani Nepal, a member of the Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal (IPPAN), one and a half bigha of land is needed to build a solar power project with a capacity of one megawatt which can produce 1.7 million to 2 million units of electricity. It can generate a minimum income of Rs 124,00,000 to 1,53,00,000.

When it comes to solar irrigation, the world average is 3.7 units per square meter but in Nepal it is 4.7 units per square meter. That means one square meter has the capacity to produce 4.7 kilowatt of solar electricity per day. Compared to the plains, there is more capacity to produce solar energy in the hills. Therefore, energy producers say that Nepal is a paradise for solar energy production.





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