Bihar Draft Rooftop Solar Net and Gross Metering Regulations

The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) has released a draft document for rooftop net metering regulations that is open to comments and suggestions until January 5, 2018.

The regulations are being updated because BERC is of the view that the old policy may not be conducive to the provisions of gross metering and third-party sales found in the existing regulations.

The updated policy document is called “Rooftop Solar Grid-Interactive Systems based on Net and Gross Metering Regulations 2017,” and it is expected to repeal and replace the current policy. That policy is the “Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (Rooftop Solar Grid Interactive Systems Based on Net Metering) Regulations, 2015.” The draft regulations would apply to all distribution licensees and companies (DISCOMs) and their consumers in Bihar.

The regulations also come as DISCOMs in Bihar are expected to fall short of meeting their renewable purchase obligations (RPOs). Since the inception of the National Solar Mission (NSM), there hasn’t been much progress in Bihar as far as solar installations are concerned both for rooftop and ground-mounted projects. The proposed regulations aim to give more leeway to allow rooftop solar to help in meeting RPO goals.

Key Highlights from the Draft Document

  • The capacity of rooftop solar systems should be a minimum of 1 kW and must not exceed the contracted load of the consumer.
  • The provision of net or gross metering will be offered by DISCOMs to consumers on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  • In cases where gross metering is owned by a third party, the DISCOM will enter into an agreement with the third party.
  • Consumers using a net metering facility cannot also use a gross-metering facility.

DISCOMs will provide net or gross metering facilities to consumers in an area, as long as the capacity does not exceed the target capacity of that area, provided that a maximum cumulative capacity of 100 MW is allowed to eligible consumers under net metering on a yearly basis in the distribution agency’s area of supply.

  • The cumulative capacity to be allowed at a particular transformer must not exceed 80 percent of the transformer’s capacity, provided a maximum cumulative capacity of 100 MW is allowed to eligible consumers under net metering on a yearly basis in the area of supply of the distribution agency.
  • Solar power producers will be responsible for the operation, maintenance, and service of any defect up to the point of net or gross meter.
  • The DISCOM can disconnect the solar energy generating system at any time in the event of a threat or damage to its system.
  • For consumers with net metering, if electricity injected into the grid exceeds the electricity drawn from the grid, the excess injected electricity will be carried over to the next billing period as an electricity credit.
  • For consumers with gross metering, DISCOMs will pay the third-party for the electricity injected into the grid after each billing period. The payment will be made at the rate of the feed-in tariff specified by BERC.
  • The power generated will count toward the RPO of the DISCOMs.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, the cumulative installed solar capacity in Bihar is 93 MW and the solar project pipeline is just 20 MW.

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