Karnataka Issues Guidelines to Expedite Rooftop Solar Installations

BESCOM will be the nodal agency to create a website for rooftop solar applications

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The Karnataka government has announced a series of measures to expedite the implementation of rooftop solar projects, following recommendations from an expert committee constituted by the state’s energy department.

Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) will serve as the nodal agency to create a unified URL and website for rooftop solar applications, including the application process. Login credentials will be provided to all other Electricity Supply Companies (ESCOMs) to use the same platform.

The application procedure, guidelines, orders, and regulations will be hosted on the same website. Daily reports on registered applications and their current status will be available on the site.

An online process for applications, power purchase agreements, and synchronization will be implemented and followed across all ESCOMs. BESCOM will ensure the solar billing software is available online by May 31, 2024.

BESCOM will develop and circulate the procedure and standard operating procedures for rooftop solar implementation to all other ESCOMs.

Synchronization must be completed within five working days, per Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) guidelines. Records of synchronization must be submitted to the accounts section within three days of synchronization, and accounts must update their records within two days of receipt.

ESCOMs will penalize officers for delays in synchronization, as per KERC guidelines.

BESCOM will develop a mobile app for synchronization, similar to the smart meter procedure.

BESCOM will prepare and demonstrate a sample billing, incorporating all KERC regulations and applicable charges, ensuring all ESCOMs follow the same charges regarding electricity tax, etc.

ESCOMs must consider all rooftop solar applications from 1 kW to 150 kW as deemed feasible. The government has approved the workflow sent by BESCOM to KERC, which all ESCOMs must follow.

Once KERC issues any regulations or orders on rooftop solar, ESCOMs must comply immediately without awaiting further approval from KERC.

All ESCOMs will follow a uniform procedure for signing and approval of power purchase agreements:

  • For up to 500 kW, signing and approval will be done by the operation and maintenance (O&M) subdivision assistant executive engineers.
  • For between 500 kW and 1000 kW, the signing will be done by executive engineers of O&M divisions and approved by the corporate office.
  • For above 1000 kW, the signing will be done by executive engineers of O&M divisions and approved by KERC.

All ESCOMs will follow a uniform procedure for rooftop solar synchronization: up to 17.5 kW by O&M assistant executive engineers without requiring low tension rating certification and above 17.5 kW in the presence of the meter testing division’s assistant executive engineers.

If meter testing is done in one of the designated laboratories in the state, it should be valid across the state.

Karnataka was the fifth-largest state for rooftop solar installations, with 526 MW of rooftop solar capacity installed as of December 31, 2023, according to Mercom India Research’s  2023 Q4 & Annual Mercom India Rooftop Solar Market Report.

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