The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has issued Draft Guidelines to implement a group net-metering and a virtual net-metering framework under the Delhi Solar Policy 2016.
The draft is up for comments, suggestions and objections up to January 10, 2019.
According to the draft, the purpose of this group net-metering framework is to help maximize the utilization of rooftop space for solar energy generation for consumers with multiple buildings and service connections.
The draft states that virtual net-metering will be an arrangement for consumers who do not have a suitable roof for installing a solar power generating system, but want access to a solar net-metering facility. With virtual net metering, consumers can own a part of a collectively-owned solar power generating system. All energy produced by such a solar system will be fed into the grid through an energy meter and the exported energy as recorded by that meter will be credited to the electricity bill of each participating consumer based on beneficial ownership.
- In the initial phase, the group and virtual net-metering framework will be made available for government entities.
- The Annual settlement rate will be governed as per the provisions of DERC (Net Metering for Renewable Energy) Regulations, 2014.
- For group or virtual net-metering, consumers must apply to the distribution company (DISCOM) with a fee of ₹1,000 (~$14).
- If the capacity of group or virtual net-metered solar project is more than the sanctioned load of the premises of the consumer on which solar the project is installed, the consumer will pay the differential amount of state load dispatch charges.
- Smart meters will be installed at the generation point and the cost will be borne by the DISCOMs.
- Under group or virtual net metering, The DISCOM will show, separately, the energy units exported, the energy units imported, the net energy units billed, and the energy units carried forward (if any) to the consumer in their bill for the respective billing period of the consumers.
- At the end of each financial year, any net energy credits, which remain unadjusted, will be paid by the DISCOM to the consumer as per the rates fixed by DERC.
- Under virtual net metering, there is no restriction on intra DISCOM or inter DISCOM transfer of surplus energy per the Delhi Solar Policy, 2016. In case of inter DISCOM transfer of power due to physical location of either of generation unit or consumer in different DISCOM area, normative distribution losses on account of transfer of power will be borne by the consumer.
Once final, these regulations may help the DISCOMs in Delhi meet solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets and spur the rooftop solar market. Net metering has been a challenge that has prevented the growth of rooftop solar in India. If implemented correctly, group and virtual net metering could be a model for other cities to follow. However, not all cities are under as much pressure as Delhi which is one of the most polluted cities in the world.
In March 2017, the state government of Delhi released the Delhi Solar Policy 2016, applicable for the four-year period 2016-2020. The policy applies to any solar energy generating system with a capacity of 1 kW or more in Delhi.
Of late, the Delhi government has given a push to the region’s solar capacity addition with the help of innovative policies and incentives for the consumers.
The government recently approved the Mukhyamantri Solar Power Program to give the necessary and required impetus to solar power and its adoption in Delhi. This program will apply to domestic (residential) sector consumers in Delhi.
In July 2018, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had announced its plan to launch a Solar Rooftop Demand Aggregation Program for domestic customers in the nation’s capital.
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.