The Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) has approved net metering facility for a 2.4 MW grid-connected rooftop solar project at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) premises in Lucknow.
The state-owned aerospace and defense company filed a petition with the Commission requesting a net metering facility for its 2.4 MW grid-connected rooftop solar project. According to net-metering regulations in Uttar Pradesh, the project capacity for a grid-connected rooftop solar project cannot exceed 1 MW.
In its January 23, 2018 order, the Commission had relaxed the provision for a 1 MW ceiling for the net metering facility for grid-connected solar projects.
In 2018, the Commission permitted HAL to develop a 4 MW grid-connected rooftop solar project at its Lucknow premises. The project had to be developed under the Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) model on a net-metering basis as per the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) mandate to implement rooftop solar projects on Central Public Sector Undertaking buildings.
HAL also signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Sudhir Power to install and operate the project.
However, Madhyanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (MVVNL) informed HAL about its inability to provide the net metering facility as it is not covered by the Commission’s order dated August 1, 2019.
The Commission said that according to its order dated August 1, 2019, consumers who applied for net metering before the notification of the ‘Rooftop Solar PV Grid Interactive Systems Gross/Net Metering) Regulations, 2019’ are eligible for the facility.
Similarly, consumers who made payments for rooftop solar projects under the capital expenditure (CAPEX) model or signed PPAs with developers under the RESCO model and developers who placed purchase orders before the notification of the regulations are eligible for net metering.
In its analysis, the Commission also observed that HAL requested MVVNL to provide net metering before the 2019 regulations were notified. It had also signed a PPA with Sudhir Power before the regulations came into force.
The Commission noted that HAL had also approached Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA). However, only 900 kW capacity was indicated in UPNEDA’s list submitted to the Commission for approval due to some misunderstanding. After examining the documents submitted by HAL, UPNEDA informed the Commission that a net metering facility could be granted to HAL for its 2.4 MW rooftop solar project.
Examining these facts, the Commission directed MVVNL to provide the net metering facility to HAL.
The ceiling of net metering which was 1 MW in most states, has been reduced to 500 kW following the Ministry of Power’s new orders. This rule has pushed most commercial and industrial (C&I) consumers to go with smaller installations to avoid regulatory hurdles.
Exceptions are made in cases involving large government entities. In the cases of Southern Railway and Noida Metro Rail Corporation, exceptions were made when the state electricity regulators approved net metering for a 4 MW and 10 MW project, respectively. Last year, Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission allowed Military Engineer Services’ branches at Roorkee and Dehradun to set up a 2 MW grid-connected rooftop solar system each under net metering mechanism as a one-time exception.
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Harsh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.