The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) has issued a draft of net metering regulations for renewable energy systems. The commission has sought suggestions from the public and other stakeholders after which a final hearing will be scheduled before the finalization of the draft regulations.
The regulations will apply to all existing and new grid-interactive renewable energy systems, consumers, prosumers, and captive consumers. The regulations will come into force from the date of publication in the state’s official gazette.
The control period of the proposed draft regulation is five years from financial year (FY) 2019-20 to 2023-24. The norms and parameters specified in these regulations are applicable for determining the tariff for the electricity generated from all types of renewable projects commissioned during the control period.
These regulations are applicable to grid-interactive distributed solar energy systems, ground-mounted solar energy systems, hybrid solar power projects, renewable energy systems, and battery storage facilities, and any other renewable energy systems installed within the premises of an eligible consumer.
The general conditions specified by the KSERC are that the distribution licensee should provide the net metering arrangement to the prosumer within ten days from the date of submission of the approval from the electrical inspector. The grid-interactive renewable energy systems installed by a prosumer should be between 1-1,000 kW only.
In case the distribution licensee is not able to provide the net meter within ten days, the prosumer can purchase the net meter at his own cost conforming to the specifications as notified by the licensee. The distribution licensee should modify its existing billing infrastructure to facilitate the metering arrangements within three months of the date of notification of these regulations.
Also, a consumer who is interested in installing single-phase electric connections for domestic purposes can install up to 5 kW only.
Under the draft regulations, the normative capital cost for solar PV projects commissioned during the control period has been set at ₹40 million (~$0.56 million)/MW. The capacity utilization factor for the solar PV project has been set at 19%.
According to the draft, the commission will determine the operation and maintenance expenses based on the prevailing market trends for solar projects, allowing an escalation rate of 5.72% over the previous year. The operation and maintenance rates for the first year of the control period specified in this regulation is ₹0.6 million (~$0.008 million)/MW.
Regarding the capital cost for wind projects, the draft states that the commission will determine the cost and tariff based on the prevailing market trends for wind energy projects of capacity below 25 MW. The commission has said that the normative capital cost for wind projects will be ₹50.5 million (~$0.8 million)/MW.
The normative capital cost for small hydro projects during the first year of the control period will be ₹77.9 million (~$1.1 million)/MW for a project below 5 MW and ₹70.7 million (~$0.98 million)/MW for projects between 5-25 MW.
Further, the draft maintains that every entity should purchase the required renewable energy for renewable purchase obligation (RPO) preferably from the renewable energy generating units within the state with the prior approval of the commission, and at the tariff approved by the commission.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Government has launched a program called “Soura” to add 1,000 MW of solar projects to the existing capacity of Kerala State Electricity Board Limited by 2022. The projects will be implemented under the Urja State Kerala Mission and will be executed to fulfill the state’s renewable purchase obligation.
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Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.