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.

TSERC Regulation for connectivity with the Grid and sale of electricity from Roof- top Solar Photovoltaic System

The Telangana electricity Regulatory Commission recently came up with its Net Metering Rooftop Solar PV Grid Interactive Systems) Regulation, 2016. Following are some of the highlights of the regulation:-

  • This Regulation will be applicable to:
    • Distribution licensee
    • An eligible consumer and
    • A third party owner of a Roof Top Solar PV System in the state of Telangana.

 

  • This Regulation does not preclude the right of a Distribution licensee or the State Government Department to undertake the Rooftop Solar PV projects above 1 MWp capacity through the alternative mechanisms.

 

  • The net metering facility, of an eligible consumer shall be in three phase service where a single phase consumer is also eligible for net metering up to 5 KW.  The capacity of a Rooftop Solar PV System to be installed at the premises of an eligible consumer shall not be less than 1kWp and a maximum of 1MWp peak.

 

  • The tariff payable to an eligible consumer under the net-metering arrangement will be the average power purchase cost of a Distribution Licensee.

 

  • The quantum of electricity consumed by an Eligible Consumer from the Rooftop Solar PV System under the Net Metering Arrangement shall qualify towards his compliance of RPPO, if such Consumer is an Obligated Entity.

 

  • The Rooftop Solar PV System under the net metering arrangement, whether self-owned or third party owned installed on the Eligible Consumer’s premises, will be exempted from
  • Transmission Charge,
  • Transmission Loss,
  • Wheeling Charge,
  • Wheeling Loss,
  • Cross Subsidy Surcharge
  • Additional Surcharge.

IET Solar Panel’s first whitepaper on net-metering in India

Vishal Pandya, as co-chair IET Solar Panel India, has co-authored a whitepaper on the title –

“Recent developments in Net-Metering in India & way forward”

The paper focuses on most recent developments in the net-metering scheme for small scale solar projects across India and also analyses the case when Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are availed by consumers owning roof-top solar systems.

The paper can be downloaded from here.

Kerala drafts regulation for net-metering of small solar projects

Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) recently unveiled its draft copy of “KSERC – Grid Interactive Distributed Solar Energy Systems, Regulations, 2014” (refer). With this Kerala joins the league of states namely; Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab and Uttarakhand, which have a similar policy in their respective states. The highlights of the regulation are as under:

Eligibility – All consumers are eligible to install solar energy systems, either self-owned or that owned by a third party.

The maximum capacity of solar energy systems shall be capped at 3 MW and should be in conformity with Kerala Electricity Supply Code’14.

Cumulative capacity of all solar energy systems within a particular area shall be limited to 50% of local transformer capacity. If the cumulative capacity limit exceeds the above limit, licensee is obligated to replace the existing transformer with a higher capacity transformer within 2 months.

Banking facility – Discoms are obligated to provide banking facility to eligible consumers only upto a target capacity of solar RPO. Eligible consumers not in ToD regime is allowed to use the same regardless of any specific period.

Licensee shall provide net-metering arrangement to consumers, and consumer shall be liable to pay security deposit & rent as per norms determined by KSERC.

A consumer can supply excess power to any other self owned premise located anywhere, within the same distribution area, provided wheeling charges of 5% are paid for wheeling of power.

 The consumer will receive payment for excess generation of solar power injected in distribution network at APPC (1.99 Rs. per unit).

If an eligible consumer happens to be an obligated entity as per relevant RPO regulations, then the energy consumed by the consumer will be accounted towards solar RPO.

There shall be no banking or cross subsidy charges applicable on any eligible consumer.

A summary of such policies across other with main points can be read in the table below:

KERC determines the tariff for solar projects

KERC with an order dated 10th October 2013 determines the following tariff:

Type of solar plant Approved tariff in Rs. Per unit
Solar PV 8.40
Solar Thermal 10.92
Roof-top and small solar PV 9.56
Roof-top and small solar PV with 30% capital subsidy 7.20
  • It is applicable for solar power generators entering into PPA on or after 01.04.2013 to 31.03.2018.
  • ·
  • The tariff mentioned above is different from tariff from the bidding procedure.

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

  • For first year, from the date of commercial operation, 100% of gross proceeds on account of CDM benefit are to be retained by the project developer.
  • Second year onwards the share of beneficiaries will increase by 10 % every year, from 10% (share in 2nd year) till it reaches 50 %. After this, the benefits will be shared proportionally.

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.

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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