GERC Proposes to Limit Net Metering Till 10 kW for Rooftop Solar

Highlights :

  • The Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission has released draft rules for amending Net Metering Regulations, 2016, for rooftop solar PV.
  • Net metering will be allowed for loads up to 10 kW, gross metering for loads above 10 kW, and total capacity will be in the range of 1 kW and 1 MW.

The Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) has released a draft notification that is aimed at amending the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (Net Metering Rooftop Solar PV Grid Interactive Systems) Regulations, 2016. The new regulations will come into force with effect from the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

Net metering is a utility billing mechanism available in most states that offers a credit to residential and business customers who are making excess electricity with their solar panel systems and sending it back to the grid.

According to the proposed changes, all the electricity generated from the rooftop solar PV system will be injected into the grid as sale to the licensee at the tariff rate determined by the commission. Any individual or company will be eligible to set up solar power systems for personal use or selling electricity to the distribution licensee or a third party.

Net metering will be allowed for loads up to 10 kW and gross metering for loads above 10 kW. The installed capacity must be between 1 kW and 1 MW. Solar projects set up by residential consumers on their rooftop plus incentives under existing schemes will be allowed irrespective of consumer sanctioned load. No capacity restrictions will be applicable for captive consumers and projects set up under third party sale.

For the projects setup under REC mechanism for captive use or third party sale, installation of solar projects will be allowed up to sanctioned load or contracted demand. Consumers will be allowed to set up projects to fulfil their RPO requirements regardless of their sanctioned load, etc.

Connected load of eligible consumer should be above 100 kW/kVA and the connectivity level should be 11 KV, 3 Phase, 50 Hz. For each billing period, the licensee will be required to show the (i) quantum of electricity injected by Eligible Consumer from Solar PV system in the grid, (ii) electricity supplied by the Distribution Licensee, (iii) net billed electricity for payment by the consumer and (iv) net exported energy after adjustment against the consumption separately.

The draft rules make it clear that the energy generated by earlier projects will be governed by the provisions of net metering regulations under which they were commissioned. However, in case of additional capacity, the earlier project arrangement will be considered distinct and a fresh agreement under existing regulations will be signed.

If the rooftop projects are set under the gross metering arrangement, the electricity generated and supplied from such projects will be shown separately in the bill at the rate determined by the commission. In case of gross metering, the distribution licensees will purchase the power at the rate specified by the commission in its order dated August 8, 2019, under Petition No. 1802 of 2019. The tariff applicable for gross metering will be the simple average of tariffs discovered in the competitive bidding of the projects outside the solar park in the six months up to March 31 with an addition of Rs 0.20/kWh. This applies to projects signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) from April to September.

For projects signing PPAs from October to March, the same calculation as above will be applicable for six months up to September 30 with an addition of Rs 0.20/kWh. The above tariff will be subject to approval by GERC. The Rs 0.20/kWh addition in tariff is allowed for Rs 0.12/kWh for saving on transmission loss and Rs 0.08/kWh is to compensate for expensive land cost, higher capital investment, and maintenance cost due to small size of projects.

As for the time period of energy consumption, the draft rules point out is that in the case of solar projects set up by high tension (HT) or extra-high voltage (EHV) consumers for captive use, the energy set-off will be allowed between 7 AM and 6 PM of the same day. That is, the generated solar energy during a day will be consumed by HT or EHV consumers from 7 AM to 6 PM on the same day.

If a solar generator desires to wheel electricity to more than one location, they will have to pay Rs 0.05/kWh on energy fed into the grid to the distribution licensee in whose area the power is consumed.

The Ministry of Power recently amended the Electricity (Rights of Consumers), 2020, Rules, allowing net metering to prosumers for loads up to 500 kW or up to the approved load, whichever is lower. The government had earlier planned to cut it to 10 kW in December 2020 but increased the limit to 500 kW post strong backlash among the industry.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.

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