HPERC announces (Rooftop Solar PV Grid Interactive System based on Net Metering) Order, 2019

Himachal Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission recently issued a notification for the order on the Rooftop solar PV Grid Interactive System based on net-metering 2019. The summary of the order is as below:

Applicability: The order will be applicable to all the domestic supply consumers with an approved Letter of Approval post 15th November 2018, as per HPERC (Rooftop Solar PV Grid Interactive System based on Net Metering) Regulations, 2015 and who have thereafter installed such system.

This order will be applicable only in such cases where the domestic supply consumer installs the solar rooftop photovoltaic (PV) grid interactive system based on net metering.

In case of a net-metering plant, the distribution licensee will pay per kWh rate to the domestic supply consumers for the excess energy generated. Further, the same will be applied to ground-mounted solar PV plant from 5MW capacity located in the state. The credit will be equal to 30% of weighted average/kWh rate which the distribution licensee has purchased from the generator.

TNERC issues order on Rooftop Solar generation

Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission recently issued an order on rooftop solar generation. This comes after the Tamil Nadu Solar Policy 2019 announced a target of achieving 900 MW of solar energy till 2023, out of which 40% is set to be achieved from consumer category solar energy systems.

Applicability

According to the order on the new scheme of rooftop solar generation, consisting of solar net feed-in consumer category will be applicable to all the new applicants. The effective date of commissioning of the order is 25th March 2019. The specifications described in the order are applicable to all the new consumers and the existing consumers under the net metering scheme will continue to be under the provisions of Order No.3 of 2013 dated 13.11.2013.

Eligibility

Consumers under Low Tension category except for Hut and Agricultural category of the tariff.

Permissible maximum capacity for an eligible consumer

The maximum capacity of solar rooftop generating a plant that an eligible consumer can install shall be up to 100% of his sanctioned/contracted demand with the distribution licensee.

Metering

The consumers under the solar net feed-in scheme will have to install two meters. One for measuring solar power generation and the other to measure import & export of energy.

Commercial arrangement

  • The electricity generated by the solar rooftop power plant shall be utilized for self-consumption by the consumer. The surplus energy generated that is unutilized and that flows to the grid and recorded in the export register of the meter shall at the end of the billing period be calculated at a tariff fixed by the commission and credited to the consumer’s account.
  • The price of energy purchase exported by the solar generator during a financial year will be 75% of the pooled cost of power purchase notified by the commission.

Restrictions on grid penetration

At a local distribution level, the connectivity to rooftop solar systems will be restricted to 90% of the distribution transformer capacity on first come first serve basis.

Renewable Energy Certificates and Renewable Energy Obligation

Net injection of power is not eligible for REC. The energy generated from Rooftop Solar Power Plant will be accounted towards the fulfillment of RPO obligation of distribution licensees.

The order is to come in effect on and from 25th March 2019.

Tamil Nadu announces final solar energy policy 2019

Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency announced the final Tamil Nadu solar energy policy 2019. The policy intends to include solar energy in demand side management, energy conservation, energy efficiency, smart grids etc.the policy also talks about encouraging public-private partnerships, joint ventures etc. to accelerate solar energy projects, manufacturing facilities, and R&D.

  • Tamil Nadu intends to have an installed capacity of 9,000 MW by 2023, of which 40% is intended to come from rooftop solar plants.
  • The policy is applicable to both utility & consumer category systems.

Utility category: where the objective is sales of solar energy to a distribution licensee or a third party or self-consumption at a remote location (wheeling). For these systems, the grid connection is through a dedicated gross metering interface.

Consumer category systems: where the objective is self-consumption of solar energy and export of surplus energy to the grid. For these systems, the grid connection is through a consumer service connection of a distribution licensee.

  • The tariffs will be based on market-based competitive bidding & net feed-in tariff decided by TNERC time to time.
  • TNERC may introduce Time of Day (TOD) solar energy Feed-in tariffs to encourage solar energy producers & solar energy storage operators to feed energy into the grid when the energy demand is high.

Types of solar plant models:

  • Upfront ownership: The purchaser of the solar system pays the supplier for the capital cost and takes ownership of the solar system.
  • Deferred ownership: The solar system is installed and operated by the supplier. The purchaser makes system performance-based payments to the supplier or leases the system from the supplier. System ownership is transferred to the purchaser on a mutually agreed date or is triggered by a mutually agreed event.

Incentives:

  • Rooftop solar plants will be exempted from electricity-tax for two years from the date of the policy.
  • Solar energy injected into the grid of the distribution licensee by solar energy producers who have no renewable energy purchase obligations (non-obligated entities), including the solar energy export by non-obligated electricity consumers, can be claimed by the distribution licensee towards the fulfillment of their Renewable Energy Purchase Obligations (RPO).
  • The government will provide land for the development of solar system manufacturing components in the state, components like solar cells, inverters, mounting structures, and batteries etc.

Grid connectivity and Energy evacuation:

  • For consumer category solar PV systems, the system capacity at the service connection point shall not exceed 100% of the sanctioned load of the service connection.
  • For high tension consumers, open access regulations of TNERC will apply, subject to the conditions imposed by SLDC. However, wheeling for less than 1 MW shall not be allowed.

TEDA and TANGEDCO will be the leading government agencies in implementing the new solar policy in the state of Tamil Nadu.

RERC announces draft (first amendment) Net metering regulations 2018 for rooftop & small solar grid interactive system.

Rajasthan Electricity Regulation Commission (RERC) has recently notified the draft (first amendment) of net metering regulations, 2018 for rooftop & small solar grid interactive system in Rajasthan. The pilot net metering regulations came in 2015, after that this is the first amendment proposed by the commission. Since the first regulations, the feed-in tariff for solar PV has reduced drastically even lower than feed-in-tariff determined by the Commission for such projects. However, the Rajasthan commission is of the opinion that the tariff determined through auctions for Mega power projects cannot be made applicable for Rooftop solar PV projects which are of the kilowatt capacities (max.1000 kW) due to the higher capital cost of such rooftop projects.

The current amendment also talks about the excess electricity generated by the rooftop generator in the regulation clause 10(3) as follows:

“ Provided that in the event the electricity injected exceeds the electricity consumed during the billing period, such excess injected electricity above 50 units shall be paid by the Distribution Licensee at its Average Power Purchase Cost of the previous year. Provided further that Commission may review the above rate through an order as and when required. Net energy credits less than 50 units under Net Metering achieved in the particular billing period shall be adjusted in the next billing period till credit of 50 units is achieved.”

The regulation will come into effect after the date of notification in the official gazette.

Rajasthan commission has also released a discussion paper recently suggesting that the DISCOMs should purchase green energy directly instead of buying the electricity component form the RE projects.

DERC announces draft guidelines for group and virtual net metering

Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) announced the draft guidelines under the draft guidelines under DERC (Net Metering for Renewable Energy) Regulations, 2014 for implementation of Group Net Metering and Virtual Net Metering Framework under Delhi Solar Policy 2016. The comments & suggestions on guidelines are accepted till 1st January 2019.

The key points of the guidelines are as below:

  • Group net metering: Group Net Metering is an arrangement where the surplus energy exported to the grid from a solar plant at the location of the solar plant can be adjusted in any other (one or more) electricity service connection(s) of the consumer within the NCT of Delhi, provided these connections are in the same DISCOM territory.
  • Virtual net metering: Virtual Net Metering is an arrangement to give access to the Solar Net Metering facility for consumers who do not have a suitable roof for installing a solar system (e.g. residential consumers who live in apartments, consumers with shaded rooftops) there will be the facility of Virtual Net Metering.
  • In the initial phase, only the government entities will be applicable for utilizing Group and Virtual net metering.
  • The provisions for providing land space shall be governed as per provisions Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (Supply Code and Performance Standards) Regulations, 2017 as amended & Orders issued under these Regulations from time to time.

Framework for group net metering:

  • Distribution Licensees shall facilitate Group Net metering, whereby surplus energy exported to the grid from a solar plant at the location of the solar plant can be adjusted in any other (one or more) electricity service connection(s) of the consumer within the same distribution licensee area.
  • Smart meters shall be installed at Generation point(s) and the cost shall be borne
    by the distribution licensee
  • The Distribution Licensee shall show, separately, the energy units exported, the energy units imported, the net energy units billed and/or the energy units carried forward, if any, to the consumer in their bill for the respective billing period.

Framework for Virtual net metering:

  • Consumer(s) can collectively own a solar system under the arrangement of virtual net metering.
  • The adjustment of energy generated from solar plant shall be credited in the electricity bill of each participating consumer on the basis of the share of beneficial ownership in the solar plant at the time of application for connectivity under Virtual Net Metering framework.
  • Under Virtual Net Metering, there is no restriction on intra DISCOM or inter DISCOM transfer of surplus energy as per Delhi Solar policy, 2016. Therefore, in case of inter DISCOM transfer of power due to the physical location of either of Generation plant or Consumer in different DISCOM area, normative distribution losses on account of the transfer of power shall be borne by the consumer.

UPERC announces draft rooftop photo voltaic solar regulations 2019

Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) has recently announced the draft regulation for Rooftop Solar Photo Voltaic 2019. The draft regulations once notified by the Gazette will supersede “UPERC (Rooftop Solar PV Grid Interactive Systems Gross / Net Metering) Regulations, 2015.” The key highlights from the regulations are as below:

  • The maximum peak capacity of the rooftop solar system can’t exceed 100% of the sanctioned load/connected load/ contract load of the consumer.
  • The capacity of the grid-connected rooftop solar PV shall not be less than 1kWp and not more than 2MWp.
  • Eligible consumers can install the system under either gross-metering or net-metering arrangement.
  • For third-party owners entering into a commercial agreement for the rooftop in the premises of the consumers will have to go via a gross-metering method with the DISCOM.
  • The third-party owners entering into commercial or lease agreement for the rooftop in the premises of a group of consumers will have to take the net-metering arrangement with the DISCOM.
  • Any eligible consumer or third-party owner availing gross-metering arrangement will not be allowed to apply for net-metering within the same premise.
  • In order to provide flexibility to rooftop solar power consumer, a provision of mutual sale & purchase of electricity through a peer-to-peer transaction with proper accounting & billing mechanism using blockchain technology to be introduced.
  • Any consumer claiming Accelerated Depreciation benefits on the rooftop solar projects will only be eligible to avail net-metering arrangement.

Apart from the above points, the regulation talks about energy accounting & settlement, meter arrangement, application procedure, and registration processes. The regulation also has attached to it various formats of application forms for the consumers.

 

MPUVNL announces new decentralized solar policy and rooftop solar tariff reaches at INR 1.38/kWh

  • Madhya Pradesh Govt. recently introduced a decentralized solar policy to encourage the development of the decentralized RE projects and applications in the state. The policy allows decentralized RE systems of the following types:
  1. Grid-connected RE systems:
  • Category I: On Net-metering basis
  • Category II: Gross metering with wheeling and banking
  • Category III: For consumption within premises with no export of power (Reduction in the base load during the day)
  • Off-Grid RE systems
  • The policy also encourages Net-metering RE systems under the categories mentioned above. The system capacity for both grid-connected and off-grid is of 2 MW. Bulk consumers who are single point consumers are also eligible under the policy.
  • The maximum permissible capacity of the RE systems for all the Net-metered RE systems connected to a particular distribution transformer of the licensee’s grid shall be equal to the rated capacity of the said distribution transformer w.r.to MPERC Net metering regulations 2015.
  • In case the cumulative capacity of the proposed RE system exceeds, it is the distribution transformers responsibility to provide the infrastructure to accommodate the proposed capacity.
  • In the case of an LT Net metered consumer, the RE beneficiary will not bear the cost of the augmentation of the infrastructure, whereas, in case of the HT consumer, the infrastructure will be upgraded by the distribution licensee at the cost of the consumer.
  • In case installation of the decentralized renewable energy system for low tension (LT) consumer requires system augmentation, such as replacement of existing distribution transformer (DT) with a DT of higher capacity, the entire cost related to augmentation for the interconnection of the renewable energy system with the network of the DISCOM will be borne by the DISCOM. The DISCOM can claim it as part of the ARR filing.
  • Excess or surplus energy remaining banked with the distribution licensee at the end of the year will be settled at an Average Pooled Power Purchase Cost (APPC).
  • Ways to implement the RE projects under RESCO include:
  • Build Own Operate Maintain (BOOM): RESCO will Build, own and operate the system for its lifetime period and supply power to the consumer for the lifetime agreement. RESCO will uninstall the infrastructure once the lifetime period is over and build the roof in the same condition.
  • Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT): RESCO will finance, develop own and supply power to the consumer from the RE system for the lifetime period under the agreement. Post the agreement period, the system will be transferred to the RE consumer as per the agreement, wherein the consumer can assign the RESCO for the O&M maintenance under the suitable agreement between both the parties.
  • Incentives on various charges are as follows: Open access to be available to all RE systems specified in the MPERC open access regulations 2015, Wheeling charges will be available to all RE systems as specified in the MPERC regulations. Further, Govt. of MP will provide a grant of 4% in terms of energy injected and the balance if any, shall be borne by the RE consumer.
  • Cross-subsidy is exempted for RE system under this policy and net metered systems are exempted from banking charges & wheeling charges as per MPERC regulation 2015. However, Category II, III and Off-Grid systems ate not exempted from the above-mentioned charges.
  • Electricty duty will not be applicable to the producer of renewable energy beneficiary, consumer, licensee for supply, sale or consumption of RE from generating systems installed under this policy for a period of 10 years from the date of start of supply.
  • Consumers connected at LT level will be exempted from electricty duty for a lifetime of the RE system.
  • The installation of the RE system on the premises of the RE beneficiary will not be considered in the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and will be provided additional FAR for construction in the premises according to the capacity proposed as per the regulations by Urban Development & Housing Dept. Govt. of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Energy consumed from net-metered renewable energy system by a non-obligated entity qualifies towards renewable purchase obligation (RPO) compliance of the concerned distribution company (DISCOM). The DISCOM does not need to pay for such power.

In addition to the policy, in a new auction for the rooftop RE system, a new tariff of INR 1.38/kWh was discovered for the 35 kW rooftop capacity. The tariff has reduced more than the last discovered tariff for rooftop capacity auction at INR 1.58/kWh.

MERC denies Cleanmax’s plea to use Open Access and Net metering simultaneously

In a petition filed by Cleanmax Enviro Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd., the organization had sought clarification regarding the net metering arrangements for Open Access consumers under the MERC regulations 2015 from the commission. As a part of the reply to the petition, according to the ruling by MERC, the generators cannot use both Open Access and net metering simultaneously. The regulatory commission also mentioned that benefits of net-metering are limited to the rooftop solar installations with capacity up to 1 MW only. The generators above 1 MW can avail Open Access.

The explanatory ruling came as a result of responding to a petition filed by Cleanmax Solar to grant net metering permission for a 991 kW rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) project at Asahi India glass limited situated at MIDC – Taloja, Raigad Maharashtra. Asahi was a customer of MSEDCL with a contract demand of 7500 kVA connected at 100 kV. Asahi also availed partial open access at 3,000 kVA from traditional energy under a group captive arrangement from Sai Wardha Power Generation Limited. In 2017, Asahi made an application for Net Metering arrangement for the Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic system under the rooftop solar regulations 2015.

After listening to both the party’s petition the commission came to a decision that…

“Net metering and Open Access are two different sets of arrangements for different eligible consumers and its Regulatory framework also has been provided by the two different Regulations. If these two arrangements are mixed up then there are various issues related to Grid security, accounting, billing, settlement etc. Hence, the Commission has made Net Metering Regulations for “below 1 MW” and Open Access for “1 MW and above” and cannot avail simultaneously by same consumer”.

Hence denying Cleanmax’s plea.

One of the reasons for the commission to take this decision was their concern for grid security due to which the DISCOMs would have to go into distribution network contingencies and other related issues to Open Access and Net Metering Simultaneously.

MNRE’s RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGETS AMBITIOUS AND UNATTAINABLE WITHOUT COOPERATION FROM STATE GOVERNMENTS

As reported by The Hindu the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set the targets for solar and wind capacity additions for this year to 12,000 MW and 4,000 MW respectively. This comes as a surprise since the achievement till October for the same has been 1750 MW and 1502 MW respectively. Although these targets are ambitious, they are achievable as per the industrial players only if the lack of seriousness shown by the state government towards promotion of renewable energy decreases.

As per the article, the state governments are not on board. All the energy producers face a plethora of problems such as high prices and cross subsidy surcharges (CSS). Also, some state authorities such as that of Maharashtra make it more difficult for the private producers to sell electricity. States such as Tamil Nadu allow net metering only for individual houses and not for educational institutes and factories. This goes against the intentions of the Government of India to see 40,000 MW of rooftop plants by 2020.

Co-founder and director of REConnect Energy Solutions, Vishal Pandya, made the following observation about the scenario “Whether it is open access or rooftop or enforcement of renewable purchase obligations, the intent on the part of the state machineries seems completely missing”.

KERC Determines tariffs and other norms for Solar Rooftop and Small Photovoltaic Power Plants

This Order is applicable to all new grid connected solar rooftop and small solar photo voltaic power plants, entering into Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and commissioned on or after 2nd May, 2016 and up to 31st March, 2018.

Sharing of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) benefits between the generating company and the beneficiaries

  • 100% of gross proceeds on account of CDM benefit are to be retained by the project developer in the first year, after the date of commercial operation of the generating station,
  • In the second year, the share of distribution licensees shall be 10%, which shall be progressively increased by 10% every year till it reaches 50% and thereafter, the proceeds shall be shared in equal proportion by the generating companies and the beneficiaries.

Grid Connectivity for roof-top projects

  • 1 kW to 5 kW – single phase 230 volts
  • 5 kW to 50 kW – 3 phase 415 Volts
  • 50 kW to 1 MW – 11 kV line.

Metering

  • Metering shall be in compliance with the CEA (Installation and Operation of Meters) Regulations 2006 as amended from time to time.
  • In the case of, solar rooftop PV systems connected to LT grid of a distribution company, the concept of net metering shall be adopted and the net energy pumped into the grid shall be billed.
  • In the net -metering, the consumer is paid for the net energy i.e., the difference between energy generated from solar rooftop plant and consumed by his/her installation.
  • This concept allows only surplus energy to be injected into the grid. The Commission had proposed to continue with net-metering concept for all consumers, other than domestic consumers.
  • In the case of domestic consumers, the Commission had proposed to adopt gross metering concept where the entire energy generated by the solar rooftop plant is allowed to be injected into the grid

Note – An amendment to CEA (Installation and Operation of Meters) Regulations 2006 has been issued recently, in which a new definition of “renewable energy meter” has been introduced to extend clarity to net-metering scheme.

  • If export>import, ESCOM pays generator at the tariff determined.
  • If import > export; then generators pays to DISCOM at prevailing retail tariff.

 

Applicability of Wheeling and Banking Charges and Cross Subsidy Surcharge:

For solar generators going with intra-state open-access, no wheeling/banking charges or cross- subsidy charges are to be paid.

The copy of the order can be accessed here.

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