Oman, which had earlier announced plans to generate solar power from residential rooftops, has now extended the option to industrial and commercial buildings, a report said.
“Initially our goal was to encourage residential customers to venture into solar rooftop generation, but then we felt it would be a huge opportunity for industrial and commercial customers to go in for rooftop installations as well,” said Hilal Al Ghaithy, deputy director for Consumer Affairs at Authority for Electricity Regulation Oman (AER), was quoted as saying in the Oman Observer report.
The policy framework and regulations being formulated by the authority in support of solar rooftop generation do not envision any subsidy or financial compensation during the initial stages of the programme’s implementation, he explained.
“As electricity tariffs are heavily subsidised, our intention is not to have an additional support scheme like Feed-in-Tariff, for example, as is prevalent in other countries,” Al Ghaithy added.
“Offering financial compensation will only add another layer of subsidy from the government to customers. Our intention is to go in for net metering which will encourage people to reduce their grid-based electricity consumption and offset their electricity bills on a monthly basis.
“Once the government is able to provide additional subsidy for the renewable energy rooftop programme, then we will change our regulations to allow for Feed-in Tariff or financial compensation,” he said.
Licensed distribution and supply companies (discos), Al Ghaithy said, will be allowed to sign agency contracts with owners of solar rooftop capacity to offtake any excess output on behalf of Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), currently the sole offtaker of all electricity output under the Sector Law.
“We are now in the process of preparing and developing the technical regulations and specifications for solar rooftop systems, as their integration into the networks will require suitable (safeguards) because these systems will be working in parallel with the main grid,” he said.
AER also plans to cap rooftop capacity at certain limits so as not to allow owners to install higher capacity systems that would enable them to feed substantive quantities of electricity into the grid, the report said.