Colombia unveils subsidy scheme for off-grid domestic PV

By José Rojo Martín, Mar 21, 2019

The subsidies will show household income, estimated production and reference tariffs (Credit: Bikes/ Pixabay)

The subsidies reflecting household income, estimated production and reference tariffs. (Credit: Bikes/ Pixabay)

Colombia’s poorer, grid-isolated municipalities will receive support for the roll-out of domestic PV under draft rules unveiled by the Energy ministry.

Until 3 April, interested parties will be able to comment on proposals for a subsidy scheme meant to offset O&M costs of small-scale PV across so-called non-interconnected zones.

These areas, mostly scattered across Colombia’s less-developed Pacific coast and Amazon basin. All are challenging and expensive for power producers to service. Residents may use little energy but can also afford to pay little, typically turning to liquid fuels for electricity purposes.

So the ministry’s solution is subsidies that will reflect household income levels. It’s estimated production in kWh terms and reference tariffs based on residents place.

Therefore the proposal does not offer figures on how large the subsidy pot will be. Consequently, it specifies, that the aid may only cover “subsistence” power use levels. However, that determination by Colombia’s energy planning agency UPME.

“Individual PV solutions fulfil the goal of increasing cover and satisfying energy demand in non-interconnected zones.
Furthermore in an efficient, resilient way that helps reduce carbon emissions,” reads the draft legislation, signed by energy minister María Fernanda Suárez.

In conclusion, Colombia’s rural PV push comes amid parallel efforts to prop up utility-scale renewable projects. Finally with a target to boost installed capacity from 50MW to 1.5GW.

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