Local solar power industry on verge of collapse, say stakeholders | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Local solar power industry on verge of collapse, say stakeholders

The country’s solar power industry is on the verge of collapse due to unfavourable policy decisions taken by the authorities, the Solar Industry Association lamented.

“We are faced with a difficult situation as the Ministry of Power and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) have taken certain measures to the detriment of the industry. We were happy with the way the industry was progressing. However, these decisions will negatively impact the industry which is an active segment of the economy,” President, Solar Industry Association, Kushan Jayasuriya said.

The ‘Suriya Bala Sangramaya’ program launched in 2016 has been a resounding success with 17,000 installations and a combined energy capacity of nearly 200 MW added to the national grid. In this background, this program too is now facing the threat of being completely destroyed, he said.

“This is a disaster. When the world is moving towards renewable energy sources, Sri Lanka is taking an opposite direction. However, the country had an ambitious target of reaching 50 percent of its energy sources from renewable energy by 2030 and we will not be able to meet this target anymore. This is a sad situation as the country has unlimited capability to generate solar power and it is also environment-friendly,” he said.

“We have a large segment of industrialists engaged in solar power generation and they too face the danger of losing their income and jobs in the near future. With plans to meet the Power Minister soon, we are hoping for the best,” he said.

Among the decisions made by the Ministry and the CEB are, cancel net metering systems and net accounting systems while drastically reducing the net plus tariffs rendering the scheme commercially nonviable.

The Solar Industry Association expects that the Power Minister together with the CEB will take a prudent decision to enable the industry to move forward in generating solar power and thereby help the 10,000 people engaged in the sector.to protect their livelihood.

Meanwhile, Power, Energy and Business Development Minister, Ravi Karunanayake has reportedly dismissed any moves by the Ceylon Electricity Board to curtail the use of renewable energy for power generation. Instead the Minister has said, his ‘Ministry would expand the renewable energy contribution to the national grid by 500% in the next two years.’

A media report last week quoting the Minister said, “A lot of misinformation has been spread saying that the CEB was in an attempt to restrict the setting up and use of solar power generation, which is not true.

“We plan our work to protect both, the consumer as well as the industry. The ‘Surya Bala Sangramaya’, the solar power generation drive was launched when I was the Finance Minister. So, how can I work to the detriment of solar power generation?”

However, he said, “Certain changes and overhauling of the solar power generation have been introduced to mitigate the damage caused to the industry in the way the the ‘Surya Bala Sangramaya’ had been implemented,” the report added.