In a landmark order, the Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) has allowed net metering for a 3.34 MW rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Greater NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh. The UPERC was responding to a petition filed by Gautam Buddha University, Greater NOIDA.
Gautam Buddha University has a sanctioned load of 4,000 KVA and wanted to augment its existing rooftop solar PV facility from capacity of 0.5 MW to 3.34 MW. The university had sought relaxation of UPERC (Rooftop Solar Grid-Interactive System Gross/Net Metering) Regulations 2015.
The rooftop solar PV project is being developed in RESCO mode and the power will be utilized for captive consumption.
When summoned by the UPERC, NOIDA Power Company Limited (NPCL) submitted that it had no technical constraint in providing grid-connectivity for the project and the new proposed capacity. NPCL submitted that UPERC regulations concerning net metering provide for connectivity voltage level, application and registration fees for rooftop solar PV project of up to 1 MW capacity. For project of capacity more than 1 MW there are no provisions.
After considering all the submissions made, UPERC allowed for net metering of the 3.34 MW rooftop solar PV project. In order to do so, the Gautam Buddha University must fulfil formalities per UPERC (Rooftop Solar Grid-Interactive System Gross/Net Metering) Regulations 2015, take approval from Directorate of Electrical Safety and adhere to provisions of Central Electricity Authority (CEA) (Measures relating to Safety and Electrical Supply) Regulations 2010, CEA (Technical Standard for Connectivity of Distributed Generation Resources) Regulations 2013 and UPERC (Grant of Connectivity to interstate transmission system) Regulations 2010.
Regarding applicable fees, the UPERC ruled that since fee specified is for up to 1 MW projects, the same will be charged for entire 3.34 MW.
Mercom had reported in recently that net metering policy continues to be a drag on India’s rooftop solar sector. One of the larger hurdles is system size as most states have an upper limit (usually 1 MW) on the size of a rooftop solar project. Although a 1 MW rooftop project is relatively large, the size limit sidelines a large number of commercial and industrial consumers from installing rooftop solar to meet their power needs.
This order could be encouraging to a lot of rooftop solar projects that generally have an upper cap of 1 MW. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) also had passed a ruling stating that the benefits of net metering are limited to rooftop solar installations of up to 1 MW.
Earlier in 2018, Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) had removed the upper cap of 1 MW for rooftop solar projects in the state. The removal of the upper ceiling was part of the order passed by OERC on net metering, bi-directional metering, and their connectivity to solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in Odisha.
Image Credit: Amplus Solar