The Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) has issued an updated version of its regulations for rooftop solar grid-interactive systems based on net metering in response to a petition filed by the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA).
The HAREDA had filed a petition seeking amendments in its regulations from 2014, to help them meet the Indian government’s solar targets. It stated that it could not meet these targets without net metering facilities, and the existing regulations did not have the provisions for it.
The petition asked for the regulations to be amended so that with the net metering provision, consumers are allowed to sell excess generated power back to the utilities. It also sought for the cumulative capacity of the rooftop solar systems at a distribution transformer to be allowed up to 100% of its particular distribution transformer capacity.
The petition also expected regulations to allow consumers to set up solar projects higher than the sanctioned load if they have space and the capacity to do so. It also sought for open access consumers who plan to get rooftop solar projects in their premises to be allowed to use net metering facilities.
Aside from these issues, the HAREDA also requested banking facilities for grid-connected rooftop solar power systems and the ability to carry forward excess energy from one billing cycle to the next and even to the next financial years. It also sought the exemption of wheeling and cross-subsidy charges for eligible consumer premises under net metering.
Net metering was introduced in India as a measure to make distributed renewable energy more accessible and economical for electricity consumers across the country.
In response to this, the commission framed, drafted, and issued an updated the regulations addressing the issues mentioned in the petition in its ‘Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (Rooftop Solar Grid Interactive Systems Based on Net Metering) Regulations, 2019.’
The new regulations stated that net metering facilities would not be made available to open access to consumers.
The regulations also stated that distribution licensees must provide net metering facilities to eligible consumers as long as their total capacity does not exceed 500 MW, up from 200 MW previously.
In the case of low-tension consumers, the maximum rated capacity of the rooftop solar system should not exceed the connected load, and in case of high-tension consumers, it should not exceed the contract demand, subject to a maximum of 2 MW and a minimum of 1 kW in either of the cases.
Further that the eligible consumer is mandated to install 25% battery storage for any incremental capacity of above 1 MW and up to 2 MW. This battery shall be able to store and deliver energy for two hours.
It also stated that to promote solar power generation through net metering in the state, distribution licensees will provide an incentive on the power generated through rooftop solar systems subject to the approval of the commission.
It is also specified that in case of interconnection with the grid, the cumulative capacity of rooftop solar systems at a particular power transformer of the distribution licensee should not exceed 50% and 30% of the rated capacity at low and high tension respectively. The Commission could determine the revised transformer capacity limit from time to time.
The HERC has also allowed for the carry forward of excess generated energy from one billing cycle to the next within a financial year but did not allow for it to be carried to the next year. It stated that any excess generation surpassing 90% at the end of the financial year would not be offset against the consumer’s consumption.
The state body has further exempted rooftop solar systems commissioned under these regulations from all wheeling, cross-subsidy, transmission, distribution, and banking charges and surcharges. The new regulations have also created a provision for excess generated power to be fed back into the grid on a net metering basis.
Recently, Mercom reported that solar installers in the state are vehemently opposed to the recently released Maharashtra Electricity Regulation Commission’s (MERC) draft regulation that said the state could go back to gross metering, rolling back net metering for all segments except residential.
Hearing the backlash, Chandrasekhar Bawankule, Maharashtra energy minister, requested the MERC to discard the proposed draft regulations on rolling back net-metering in the state and continue with the previous regulations until the state’s target of 4.7 MW of renewable energy installations is achieved.
Capping of rooftop capacity for net metering has been one of the significant policy hurdles, limiting the country from achieving its potential in terms of scaling rooftop solar.
Nithin is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Reuters News, he has covered oil, metals and agricultural commodity markets across global markets. He has also covered refinery and pipeline explosions, oil and gas leaks, Atlantic region hurricane developments, and other natural disasters. Nithin holds a Masters Degree in Applied Economics from Christ University, Bangalore and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai.