Solar power must meet 25 pc energy needs of new residential buildings

Kathmandu, December 22

From now on, those planning to build a new house will have to submit a plan to meet 25 per cent of their energy needs through solar power.

Those who fail to do so will not be able to get their building designs approved.

The government has instructed all municipalities, sub-metropolitan cities, Kathmandu Metropolitan City and district development committees to strictly enforce this provision while approving the building design, in view of the current power crisis facing the country.

As per the latest provision, commercial complexes, government buildings, star hotels, cinema complexes and cultural centres, being built on or over 317.9 square metres (10 aanas) of land, and residential buildings being built on or over 232.26 square metres (7.31 aanas) of land must install a solar panel with a capacity of 1,500 watts.

If the energy consumption is more, at least 25 per cent of the total energy needs must be met through solar power.

Installing a solar panel with 1,500 watts capacity costs between Rs 250,000 and Rs 300,000.

To ensure home owners are abiding by the rule, the government has also instructed the municipal offices and DDCs to conduct site inspection before issuing the final certificate after completion of the house.

The government has introduced this policy to promote the alternative source of energy and improve the situation of crippling power shortage.

The rule, however, is not applicable for homes that do not get at least five hours of sunlight in a day.

Nevertheless, the government has said the provision will be enforced for buildings that have not obtained the certificate of completion of construction from the municipal offices.

“Municipal offices and VDCs of the developing towns will start following this provision strictly from now on,” said Kunti Kumari Shahi, state minister for federal affairs and local development.

The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre has been asked to provide technical support for installation of solar energy.

Though the government has made it compulsory for new buildings to generate at least 25 per cent of energy demand using solar power, it is completely silent about the subsidies for solar panels.

On a positive note, the government has said it would soon manage a system to feed the additional power generated by such commercial and government buildings and residential houses to the national grid and deduct the bill of grid electricity through net-metering system.

Similarly, AEPC with support from KfW a German government-owned development bank  has been preparing to establish a solar battery recycling plant so that it can provide solar batteries at a cost effective rate as the country will be adopting a new energy mix through this system.