Earlier, Shree Cements had filed a petition before the Commission for permitting the use of both net metering facility and open access.
Shree Cement Limited had applied to set up a 999 kW rooftop solar power project with a net metering facility at its cement production unit at Assan Kalan in Panipat district of Haryana.
The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (UHBVN) had executed a net metering connection agreement with Shree Cement on April 09, 2019.
Shree Cement is also an open access consumer and purchases power from the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) under open access to meet part of its power requirement.
In its submission, Shree Cement said that if any person whose premises is situated within the supply of a distribution licensee requires open access, he should be allowed non-discriminatory open access as per the Commission’s regulations.
Under net metering, the solar rooftop capacity that a consumer can install at its premises is capped at 1 MW. Taking this into account, the petition argued that, on the one hand, the net metering regulations do not let the consumer install solar system equivalent to its total requirement. On the other hand, it also deprives it of taking up the open access facility.
Shree Cement noted that it would be justifiable to limit the capacity of open access (to the extent of solar capacity installed) on the grounds of technical limitations. However, the denial of open access in totality is not correct and goes against the provisions of the Electricity Act 2003, the petition noted.
The state distribution company, on the other hand, called the petition untenable. As per the net metering regulations, the petitioner may enter into a power purchase agreement with the licensee or go for third party sale, it argued.
The DISCOM further added that currently, the petitioner is getting power from two sources – open access and DISCOM. If the net metering facility is allowed to an open access consumer, then the consumer would be getting power from three sources, which will lead to complexity in grid security, energy accounting, and billing.
After hearing all stakeholders and considering the merits of the matter, the Commission decided not to provide the facility of net metering to open access consumers, as it would go against the provisions laid out by the state Commission.
Recently, Mercom reported that Haryana imposed an additional surcharge on the purchase of open access power. The open access segment in India has remained underutilized on account of inconsistent and unsupportive state policies. Read all about India’s solar open access segment here.
The total installed solar capacity in the open access market reached 3.6 GW at the end of the calendar year 2019. The pipeline of projects under development and in the pre-construction phase is estimated to be approximately 1.5 GW, according to Mercom India Research’s report released in March – Open Access Solar Market in India – Key States.