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Upto 500kW: Solar Rooftop plant net metering allowed

The Ministry of Power has issued a draught amendment to the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020, allowing net metering for rooftop solar systems with loads up to 500 kW or the sanctioned load, whichever is lower, and net billing (gross metering) or net feed-in for systems with loads above 500 kW. According to the MoP, stakeholders can submit comments to the ministry by April 30, 2021.

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According to the draught amendment, the Commissions may implement time-of-the-day (ToD) rates for prosumers who employ net billing or net feed-in, incentivizing prosumers to install energy storage for later consumption or to feed into the grid during peak hours. In the case of net metering/net-billing or net feed-in, the DISCOM may also install a solar energy metre to measure the gross solar energy generated by the grid-interactive rooftop photovoltaic system for any renewable energy purchase obligation (RPO) credit.

In January of this year, the MoP informed rooftop solar stakeholders that the government will reconsider its stance on gross metering for systems larger than 10 kW in capacity. The ministry had stated that representations received from stakeholders on the issue were being reviewed before making a decision. The provision mandated net metering for loads up to 10 kW and gross metering for loads greater than 10 kW under the Electricity (Rights of Consumer) Rules 2020, which were issued in December 2020. This provision was added to the section addressing consumers' rights as prosumers. The section stated that prosumers would have the same rights as regular consumers. They would also be able to set up renewable energy generation units, such as rooftop solar systems, either on their own or through a service provider.

Last year, Nitin Gadkari, the Minister of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, brought to the attention of R.K. Singh, the Minister of New and Renewable Energy, a representation made by solar developers in Maharashtra against enforcing gross metering for rooftop solar systems larger than 10 kW. The Maha Solar Sangathan had written to Gadkari, claiming that the gross metering notification will kill the MSME sector and make renewable energy generation unprofitable for tiny companies.

Stakeholders have expressed concern to the MNRE department that if net metering was limited to 10 kW, the rooftop solar sector would collapse.


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