The Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (CSERC) has proposed amendments to the Grid-Interactive Distributed Renewable Energy Sources Regulations, 2019.
The regulations will come into force from the date of publication in the Chhattisgarh gazette.
As per the proposed amendments, the capacity of the distributed renewable energy system must not exceed the approved load or contract demand of the prosumer. The maximum size of the renewable energy system that can be set up under the net metering arrangement is 500 kW. Also, the minimum size of the system allowed under the net metering arrangement would be 1 kW. Earlier, the maximum size of the system that could be set up under the net metering arrangement was not mentioned.
Another proposed amendment states that the voltage level for interconnection with the grid will be the one at which the prosumer has been receiving supply from the distribution company (DISCOM). The clause will be applied given that the high tension (HT) consumer executing the renewable energy project under the net metering arrangement connects the renewable energy system at its low-tension (LT) busbar.
Also, if the prosumer procures the meters and has a valid testing certificate from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories, the DISCOM would exempt it from meter testing.
In another proposed amendment, the Commission states that the injected electricity measured in kWh/kVAh should only be utilized to offset the kWh/kVAh supplied by the DISCOM and not be utilized to compensate any other fee and charges levied.
Also, the Commission states that the maximum independent renewable energy system capacity, to be installed by any person at a particular location, should be based on the electricity system’s capacity and configuration and the power flows that the distributed generation source may cause. This will be applicable if the minimum size of the distributed renewable energy system that can be set up under the arrangement is 500 kW. Further, the maximum size of the distributed renewable energy system to be set up under the arrangement should be two times the approved load and three times the desired open access capacity.
As per the existing regulations, any person may set up a renewable energy system on the premises of the prosumer as per guidelines.
Regarding the banking charges, the Commission states that banking of 100% energy after netting will be permitted for all captive and open access consumers. Charges at the rate of 5% of banked energy will be payable by the prosumer. The banking year will be from April to March. Earlier the banking charges was 2%.
Also, the new amendment proposes that banked units redeemed during the normal period (5 am to 6 pm or as specified in the applicable tariff order) and off-peak load period (11 pm to 5 am next day or as specified in the applicable tariff order) should not have any withdrawal charges. Banked energy redeemed during the evening peak load period (6 pm to 11 pm or as specified in the applicable tariff order) should attract peak withdrawal charges in kind, which will be 30% of energy drawn during the peak load hours.
Earlier, it was mentioned that banked units could not be consumed or redeemed in the peak months (i.e., June 25 to July 25, September 10 to October 10, and March 15 to April 15) and in the peak hours (6 pm to 11 pm) throughout the year.
As per another new clause, the unutilized banked energy or surplus energy at the end of the financial year should be purchased by the DISCOM at the lowest rooftop solar tariff discovered through competitive bidding undertaken by the DISCOM in the last financial year. If such tariff is not available, the lowest tariff through competitive bidding undertaken by the Solar Energy Corporation of India in the last financial year should be considered. Previously, the unutilized banked energy or surplus energy was not purchased by DISCOM at the end of the financial year.
For the first 300 MW of open access renewable energy systems, the cross-subsidy surcharge and transmission and wheeling charges in cash are exempt for the entire useful life of the solar project. This applies to the first 300 MW capacity that achieved or would achieve commercial operation within two years from the date of notification of these regulations.
The transmission and wheeling charges in kind at 8% will be applicable for the entire useful life of the solar project.
Another new clause states that the DISCOM must undertake technical studies to assess the impact of penetration of the distribution system within six months of notification of these regulations.
The DISCOM should explore appropriate utility-driven business models such as demand aggregation, third-party owner, engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC), and best practices from other states to promote distributed renewable energy installations in its supply area. Further, DISCOM should explore the introduction of the ‘time of day’ tariff. This would incentivize prosumers to install energy storage to utilize stored solar energy or to feed into the grid during peak hours. This helps DISCOMs to participate in demand response and submit the report to the Commission within one year of notification of these regulations.
In September last year, CSERC had proposed renewable energy banking, accounting, and wheeling of power to clarify the distributed renewable energy regulations 2019.
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Rakesh Ranjan is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked in many roles as a business correspondent, assistant editor, senior content writer, and sub-editor with bcfocus.com, CIOReview/Silicon India, Verbinden Communication, and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). More articles from Rakesh Ranjan.