On Tuesday, it was reported that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has made up its mind to curtail the perks given to rooftop solar customers by more than half as it initiated plans to redesign the Net Metering Regulations 2015. If the regulating authorities make the change, financing rates for rooftop solar consumers will be far lower than they are now. This potential move is raising eyebrows as it goes against the idea of offering incentives to increase the adoption of solar energy in the country.

According to reports, NEPRA is considering lowering the per unit price paid to rooftop solar power generators for their net surplus units from Rs 19.32 per unit to Rs 9 per unit. NEPRA officials argue that the idea behind promoting solar energy to consumers was for reducing their own cost and not for self-generation.

However, it is important to point out that the solar energy business is still in its infancy, and considering the significant investment it requires on part of the customer, redesigning the policy to lower lending rates for at this time would be unfavorable to new entrants. Considering that there are currently only 20,700 rooftop solar users, instead of discouraging them, the government should be compensating the early adaptors.

In a session held by NEPRA to solicit the views of stakeholders, there were understandably a lot of concerns raised regarding this potential move. Based on the details regarding the exchange that took place during the session, it appears that NEPRA is adamant on going through with this plan, and appeared to be dismissive of concerns regarding how this move will discourage the transition towards solar energy. This is not just a case of taking incentives off the table, but also of the NEPRA going back on what has been promised to existing customers. The hope is that the regulator reconsiders its stance and is more receptive towards the views of customers and experts. Otherwise, the already slow adoption rate of solar energy could come to a halt.