The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has directed Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd (AEML) not to pay any benefits to open access solar projects aggregating 6 MW. These projects were developed under the Renewable Energy Policy 2008 and were notified by the government of Maharashtra (GoM). According to the state’s policy, benefits were to accrue to renewable energy projects.
Akshay Enterprises, Yash Promoters & Builders, and RYB Power Electricals Pvt. Ltd., all owners of solar power generating projects in Maharashtra, had petitioned the MERC seeking clarification that renewable energy sources also include solar energy. This would imply that the Renewable Energy Policy dated October 14, 2008 is a comprehensive policy for all renewable energy including solar energy and benefits accruing to projects commissioned under the policy need to be passed on to the project developers by the concerned distribution licensees.
Petitioners had requested the commission that AEML should be directed to immediately provide to the petitioners all benefits available under the policy.
Petitioners had also requested that the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) and Industries, Energy & Labor Department, GoM, be directed to immediately issue a clarification that the Renewable Energy Policy dated October 14, 2008, includes solar.
While reviewing the petitions and the submissions by parties involved, the MERC observed and noted that in the GoM policy in-question, renewable energy source specific targets were fixed for commissioning wind (2,000 MW), bagasse-based cogeneration (1,000 MW), biomass projects (400 MW) and small hydro projects (100 MW). Further, in this policy GoM had extended some project specific facilities and benefits to these project developers. The targets and benefits for solar projects were not included in that policy.
Stating this, the MERC dismissed the petition.
Recently, the MERC announced open access charges for consumers in the state. In its final order, the MERC approved slightly lower charges of open access than what had been proposed by MSEDCL.
In another recent ruling, the MERC clarified that the nodal agency will grant medium-term open access (MTOA) or short-term open access (STOA) in the existing distribution system only if the resultant power flow can be accommodated.
In June 2018, the MERC also clarified that generators cannot use both open access and net metering simultaneously, and reiterated that the benefits of net-metering are limited to rooftop solar installations of only up to 1 MW.