The Ministry of Power (MoP) has assured stakeholders from the rooftop solar segment that the government will review its stance on gross metering for installations over 10 kW capacity.
Representations received from stakeholders on the issue were being examined, after which the ministry would take a call, it said in a tweet on January 16, 2021.
The provision under the Electricity (Rights of Consumer) Rules 2020 mandates net metering for loads up to 10 kW and gross metering for loads greater than 10 kW. This provision was created under the section addressing the rights of consumers as prosumers. The section said prosumers would enjoy the same rights as the general consumer. They will also have the right to set up renewable energy generation units, including rooftop solar systems themselves or through a service provider.
However, the provision had caused widespread anxiety among stakeholders who fear that it may decimate the Indian rooftop solar segment. Rooftop solar installers believe that net metering is one of the unique selling points that draws people towards solar installations. The new rules have not been received well by stakeholders.
Several rooftop solar installers and state and national solar industry federations wrote to the Minister of Power for a review of the provision, warning the government about the dire consequences the segment would face, including widespread unemployment in the commercial and industrial segment.
With adverse reactions coming in from the rooftop solar segment, the MoP took to Twitter to say, “DISCOMs’ financial health is very important for the sustainability of the entire value chain of the power sector, i.e., transmission, trading, generation, and coal companies, the electrical equipment suppliers. Stating that prior consultations were not done is incorrect. However, some representations have been received on this issue, which is being examined, and based on this, a call will be taken for balancing the view of all stakeholders.”
Several stakeholders welcomed the ministry’s assurance of a review of the provision relating to net metering/gross metering capacities.
Karnataka Renewable Energy Systems Manufacturers Association President Ramesh Shivanna thanked the ministry for considering the request to review the provision. He tweeted that some of the DISCOMs had already stopped giving permission based on the provision’s notification.
Navin Arora, former Director (Technical), Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam, tweeted, “In other than domestic segments, i.e., industrial, commercial, etc., the difference between retail tariff and feed-in tariff under gross metering shall be ultimately recovered from customers. In domestic, this burden can’t be passed on to others.”
Several other stakeholders commented that rooftop solar capacity had not grown so much that it would adversely affect the finances of the DISCOMS. It was unfortunate that the ministry was concerned about the health of the DISCOMs rather than the consumers who were opting for clean energy to do their bit to address climate change.
Rahul is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before entering the world of renewables, Rahul was head of the Gujarat bureau for The Quint. He has also worked for DNA Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Mirror. Hailing from a banking and finance background, Rahul has also worked for JP Morgan Chase and State Bank of India. More articles from Rahul Nair.