RERC Extends Implementation of New Rooftop Solar Rules Till Mid Sept

Highlights :

  • Rajasthan Electricity Regulator Commission (RERC) has extended the the implementation date of new net metering norms for solar rooftop projects from July 1, 2021, to September 15, 2021.
  • Under net metering, the consumer uses cheaper rooftop solar power instead of the costly discom power. Under the gross billing or metering, the project owner pays normal electricity rate to discoms despite using cheap rooftop power.

The Rajasthan Electricity Regulator Commission (RERC) has extended the the implementation date of new net metering norms for solar rooftop projects, which benefit only household consumers and bars commercial projects with over 10 kilowatt capacity, from July 1, 2021, to September 15, 2021.

Under net metering, the consumer uses cheaper rooftop solar power instead of the costly discom power. Under the gross billing or metering, as per the new rules, the project owner will have to pay normal electricity rate to discoms even though it uses cheap power from its rooftop plant. The discoms will pay the projects owners under gross metering (above 10kw) at rates discovered through auction along with 25% incentive which would be far lower than the discom rates of around Rs 8 per unit.

The order states that the commission had received representations from stakeholders, including Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Ltd., (RREC), who explained that due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of the projects under different execution stages had come to a halt. Seeking some relief, they requested the commission to extend the date June 30, 2021, at least by another three months.

RREC further submitted that the MNRE had granted extension of scheduled commissioning date of RE projects, considering the pandemic-induced disruption. Consequently, RREC requested the commission to extend the timeline for the commissioning of rooftop projects under the net metering arrangement as per Net Metering Regulations, 2015, for six months, i.e., upto December 31, 2021.

In order to facilitate the ease of doing business and as a measure of relief to RE projects to deal with difficulties arising out of the restrictions imposed on account of the second COVID-19 surge, MNRE’s Office Memorandum (OM) dated June 29, 2021, decided that the entire period of disruption – April 1, 2021, to June 15, 2021, (both inclusive) can be allowed as time-extension to RE projects being implemented through Implementing Agencies designated by the MNRE or under various schemes of MNRE.

Upon considering these pleas, the commission directed that the rooftop and small solar grid interactive systems commissioned under net metering agreements upto 15th September, 2021, will continue to operate under the net metering arrangement till the period of connection agreement, as per the provisions of the Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (Connectivity and Net Metering for Rooftop and Small Solar Grid Interactive Systems) Regulations, 2015, and any subsequent amendments.

Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of Power on Wednesday increased the threshold for rooftop solar projects up to 500 kilowatt instead of 10 kilowatt for net metering benefits, which the solar rooftop industry is now said to expect the commission to take cognisance of.

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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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