Examining revision of 10 kW net metering cap: Power ministry
The Union power ministry on Saturday said it will examine representations made by the solar industry seeking revision of consumer rules to allow net metering for all solar rooftops projects.
The ministry of power tweeted that it received representations on the issue, “which are being examined and based on this a call will be taken for balancing the interest of all stakeholders.”
“Discoms financial health is very important for sustainability of the entire value chain of power sector, i.e. transmission, trading, generation and coal companies, the electrical equipment suppliers,” the clarification tweeted by the ministry said.
It said prior consultations were held with stakeholders prior to finalising the rules. Based on the comments from consumers, industry and discoms, a balance view was taken and the net metering cap was increased to 10kW against 5kW proposed earlier.
National Solar Energy Federation of India CEO Subrahmanyam Pulipaka told ET said the industry was happy that the power ministry has considered the industry request. “We are looking forward to working with the ministry to find a win-win situation for the discoms, solar developers as well as high load consumers,” Pulipaka told ET.
ET had on Jan 5 reported that the new consumer rules notified by the government are likely to discourage large power consumers, including commercial and industrial users from setting up solar rooftop installations.
The rules have kept large electricity consumers out of the ambit of net metering, a simple billing mechanism that adjusts difference between self-generation and supply from local distribution licensee and ensure large rooftop consumers pay electricity bills while they get compensated for supplying to grid at a tariff to be fixed by electricity commissions, also known as the gross metering billing method.
On December 31, the power ministry notified Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 that will enable consumers to set up renewable energy generation units of up to 10 kW.
Industry experts said the rules are a major blow to most solar companies that do not take part in auctions conducted by the Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI) and are dependent on supply to large consumers.
The rules are likely to hobble medium and small scale enterprises too, within and outside the solar industry, as unviable solar rooftops will force them to purchase electricity from distribution companies, industry members said.
The notification ensures quality delivery of consumer services but also makes sure state distribution companies do not lose their high paying industrial consumers. Officials in the power ministry said the ceiling was fixed at 5 kw earlier but raised to 10kw after deliberations with various stakeholders.