Mauritius’ state-owned electric utility, the Central Electricity Board (CEB) has opened two schemes to drive the deployment of a total of 20 MW of household and commercial solar PV systems, with half of it linked to the home and the rest for charging of electric vehicles (EVs).
CEB has opened the household solar program called “CEB Solar PV Scheme for Domestic Customers (Households)” which will pay for all the electricity generated by rooftop arrays with an individual generation capacity of up to 5 kW. The EV-linked scheme, “CEB Solar PV Scheme for Charging of Electric Vehicles” was launched a few weeks ago for domestic and commercial customers, which has a 10 kW DC maximum system size.
The programs are in line with the Government’s promise in the National Budget Speech 2021-22 in June this year. Each program aims to allocate a cumulated capacity of 10 MW of generation capacity, to help the government achieve its goal of 35% renewable energy share in the electricity mix by 2025, and 60% by 2030.
In both the schemes, the electricity generated by the solar PV systems will be bought by the utility for MUR 3.73 (nearly USD 0.085) per kWh in this fiscal year, with that tax to be re-evaluated annually over a payment period of 20 years.
CEB noted that all power or, in the case of EV charging, the surplus power will be exported to the grid under the “gross metering” approach – without any self-consumption – as a positive aspect of the initiatives since the consumers will not have to buy an energy storage system.
The purchase of solar arrays could be financed through a ‘green’ loan from commercial banks or a concessional loan from the Development Bank of Mauritius (DBM). Eligible customers for the household solar program will also get benefits from an income tax deduction under the government’s Solar Energy Investment Allowance. The CEB also stated that the non-commercial users of the EV-linked system will be eligible for time-of-use electricity tariffs at some stage of the program.
The two solar deployment programs follow the introduction of a 60 MW program by the CEB in October, to be developed by public sector entities. These three programs look forward to driving 80 MW of new solar capacity in the country which had only 83 MW of grid-connected solar, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).The programs are part of the Government’s mitigation strategy to reduce CO2 emission in line with the country’s international pledge for the UN sustainable development goals. The schemes also offer the opportunity to democratize the electricity generation business, ensuring the sustainable development of the national power system.