Why utilities are scared of introducing net metering polices for roof top solar projects?

While India has
significant growth in terms of ground mounted solar projects, to
implement rooftop solar projects in a similar way and the biggest
bottle neck is net metering policy. While solar market in India is
growing rapidly, and cost continuity decline, solar is reaching to
grid parity especially to commercial roof top consumers. This is
the cause of concern to major utility if most of the commercial
roof top owners shift to solar PV and start injecting there surplus
electricity in to grid utilities will lose significant revenue from
these consumers as they make significant profits by charging higher
tariff from these commercial and retail consumers. The retail
tariff has already reached about 9Rs/kwh in some of the states for
these consumers.


Rooftop solar PV still remain
untapped and has significant potential as grid parity in this
consumer category. The key to growth for roof top solar is Net
metering which allows roof top owners electrical meter to be bi
directional and grid can be used as a storage media for the roof
top solar projects. Many utilities have been discouraging net
metring policies, in fact recently Delhi introduced and was
subsequently bitter on because of utilities of theft. Utilities in
most of the states are experiencing a shift from direct sale to the
open access. Open access allows consumers to optimize their
electricity bills and source cheaper electricity through bilateral
PPA from independent elect city generators. Last month open access
consumer saved 450Cr due to cheaper electricity sourcing due to
open access. As the spot electricity prices are fallen by 14% and
many solar projects are available to do a bilateral PPA with the
short term sale contract in the range of 4-rrs/unit and long term
supply contracts 3-4rs/kwh. It makes cheaper to source electricity
through open access to the commercial consumers rather than buying
electricity from Discoms at a tariff from 7-9Rs/kwh.

net metering

Roof top solar not only allows to
take advantage of bilateral PPA but also provide reliable power
supply option as generation is happening at the consumer end
itself. If net metring is allowed electricity from roof top solar
is still available to the consumers when the grid is down. While
solar as become a reliable source of electricity supply and smart
grid technology are available to integrate solar with the grid,
Rooftop solar provides a demand side management (DSM) options to
the utilities to meet there Day peak requirement. Rather than
supporting the net metring utilities are differing the net metring
policies as a result consumers are suffering for paying higher
retail tariff as well as power cuts.

Some of the utilities have taken
lead in this regard and front owners are states like ANDHRA Pradesh
and Tamil Nadu. However there are no adequate benefits still
provided to unlock the potential of rooftop solar. While rooftop
solar is still costlier has compared to typical grid tariff, there
is a need to introduce feed in tariff(FIT) or generation based
incentive (GBI) along with Net metring policies. The support
mechanisms of FIT and GBI will help large scale penetration of roof
top systems in country. There is a need for the policy makers to
develop grid codes for interconnection. These days inverters are
highly sophisticated and have Islanding protection of consumer side
in case of d failure. On one side government is coming up with
guide lines of mandatory roof top in large buildings there is a
need to introduce adequate policy measures so that it becomes
attractive to roof top owners to install roof top solar systems and
rather than enforcing on them.


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