The Rajasthan Electricity Regulator Commission (RERC) in its order dated June 30, has extended the implementation date of the new net metering norms for solar rooftop projects that restricts the benefits only to the household consumers and bars commercial projects having more than 10 kilowatt (KW) capacity.
The new norms were to kick off from July 1. However, the regulator has pushed out the implementation of the new norms to September 15.
Meanwhile, the union ministry of power has also in its order dated June 30, increased the threshold for rooftop solar projects up to 500 KW instead of 10 KW for net metering benefits.
This was done at the behest of stakeholder’s representations that due to the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the implementation of the projects under the different execution stages has come to a halt. They have requested the commission to extend the date by at least another three months.
In consideration of the representations, the commission said it “directs that the Rooftop and Small Solar Grid Interactive Systems commissioned under Net Metering agreements up to September 15, 2021, shall continue to operate under the Net Metering arrangement”.
Earlier, the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation (RREC) had requested the regulator to extend the date for implementing the new norms till December 31, taking into account the difficulties faced by the project developers.
Now, the solar rooftop industry expects the commission to take note of the recent order by the MoP which has allowed net metering benefits to projects up to 500kw.
Industry sources say that this move will give them some breathing space however, it will not resolve all their problems. The MoP’s new mechanism will, to some extent, solve the problems the industry is facing. Otherwise, the rooftop industry will collapse.
Under the net metering norms, the consumer uses cheaper rooftop solar power instead of the costly discom power. And under gross billing or metering, as per the new rules, the project owner will have to pay the normal electricity rate to discoms even though it uses cheap power from its rooftop plant.
The discoms will pay the projects owners under gross metering (above 10KW) at rates discovered through auction along with a 25 percent incentive which would be far lower than the discom rates of around Rs 8 per unit.