The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has passed a ruling stating that the benefits of net metering are limited to rooftop solar installations of up to 1 MW.
MERC was responding to a petition filed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a government of India Enterprise under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), requesting clearance for the implementation of 3 MW solar power project with a net metering facility on the Ordinance Ammunition Factory in Khadki (AFK), Pune. The project did not qualify because of its size.
In the case of the BEL project, the 3 MW captive solar system falls under the MERC’s provision for open access. Power generated under open access attracts additional charges such as wheeling charges, a cross-subsidy surcharge, and MSLDC fees, all factors that impact the viability of the project.
MSEDCL, in its submission, maintained that BEL doesn’t meet the criteria of an ‘eligible consumer’ and cannot be entitled for net metering per the existing legal provision, and should be treated as an independent power producer. MERC has also observed that AFK Pune cannot claim exemption from the provisions of Net Metering Regulations, 2015 when a consumer of electricity also becomes a consumer of a particular distribution licensee, it comes under the commission’s regulation and any special treatment cannot be granted.
The commission also stated that a similar petition from Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation was recently rejected.
In July 2017, the MERC proposed changes to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, Net Metering for Roof-top Solar Photovoltaic Systems Regulations, 2015. The new regulations are called the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Net Metering for Rooftop Solar PhotoVoltaic Systems) (First Amendment) Regulations, 2017.
Recently, BEL successfully completed the construction of a 16 MW solar PV project at the Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF) premises in Avadi locality of Tamil Nadu’s capital city Chennai. The project was inaugurated by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
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