DERC chairperson P D Sudhakar said, “With this, consumers can set up their own solar panels and either supply directly to the grid or use it partially. Whatever you supply to the grid, you can draw back whenever you need it”. How much power a person supplies and draws back from the grid will be metered. If they draw more than they supply, the difference will be billed to them. If they draw less, they will be given energy credits in the next billing cycle.
Snippet source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com
Eligibility for the scheme
The eligibility for the scheme is tied to the feasibility of interconnection with the grid, the available capacity of the service line connection of the consumers of the premises, and the sanctioned load of the consumer. The minimum capacity which can come online is 1kW peak, while no upper limit has been announced. Apart from the net metering benefit consumers are free to avail 30% capital subsidy as available from MNRE. As per the revised benchmark price available from MNRE, the total cost of a battery less PV system is Rs. 90/Wp.
Renewable Energy Meter and Net Meter
Two meters will be used for metering purpose, appropriately named as – net meter and renewable energy meter. While the cost (inclusive of the charges for testing and installation) of Renewable Energy Meter shall be borne by the distribution licensee, the same for Net Meter will be borne by the consumer . Interestingly, the Net Meters to be installed for the consumers under of time of day tariff are required to be time of day (ToD) compliant. The consumer will be responsible for safe operation, maintenance and rectification of any defect in their Renewable Energy System upto the point of Net Meter beyong which the Discom will take care. In the event of any possible threat or damage to the grid, the Discom will have the right to disconnect the renewable system.
The net surplus units injected by the consumer in the grid during a billing period shall be carried forward to the next billing period as energy credit. This will be adjusted against the energy consumed in subsequent billing periods. The distribution licensee shall raise invoice for the net electricity consumption only after adjusting the energy credits available from the previous billing cycle(s). At the end of the financial year any net energy credits which remain unadjusted shall be paid for by the distribution licensee to the consumers as per the rates notified by the Commission from time to time. To begin with, wheeling, cross subsidy surcharge & other charges have been waived off for five years.
What about money?
As surplus solar electricity produced in a month gets adjusted in the electricity bills of the next month, for all practical purpose this means that the cost of solar electricity will be same as what the consumer is paying for grid electricity. The net surplus in a financial year can however result in some marginal profit, depending upon the rates for these surplus units which are yet to be announced. Times of India reports that these are going to be in the region of Rs. 6-9/kWh. Paying due concern to Delhi’s weather – higher radiation in summers and lower radiation in winters (+ monsoon), this may not result in any major monetary benefit for the consumer unless
- They install a large system so that they can produce much more than what they can consume on an annual basis.
- Or if they are paying high grid prices (high end residential consumers and commercial consumers)
REC, RPO and Legal issues
The order clarifies that electricity generated under these Regulations will qualify towards compliance of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) for the distribution licensee unless the consumer is an obligated entity. This can be an important tool to push Discoms for RPO compliance, who were otherwise complaining on the lack of installed solar power in Delhi to meet their needs. DERC has also allowed the issue of RECs under the ambit of eligibility criteria specified by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. The regulations however brings the (renewable power generating) consumers within its purview of penalties, in case of any violations.
The scheme looks to provide an incentive to those who are on the higher tariff to go solar.
As is clear from the rates of grid electricity above, it would make sense for those on higher tariff to employ rooftop solar. The scheme looks to provide an incentive to those who are on the higher tariff to go solar. Even if they do not produce any net annual energy surplus, it can potentially ease their electricity bills. But the real challenge is going to be the ease of implementation, finding sufficient shadow free roof space and as always, financing the initial capital outlay. Delhi reportedly has a rooftop potential of 2 GW.