Maharashtra Proposes Net Metering Cap of 1 MW for Rooftop Solar Projects

The stakeholders have time until August 25, 2023, to submit their feedback on the draft proposal


The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has proposed amendments to the net and gross metering rules under the state’s Grid Interactive Rooftop Renewable Energy Generating Systems Regulations, 2019.

One notable proposed amendment is that under the net metering arrangement, the renewable energy generation system’s capacity would be capped at either 1 MW or the consumer’s contract demand, whichever is lower.

Such a generating system may be owned or operated by a consumer or a distribution company (DISCOM) or leased by a third party to the consumer.

The stakeholders have time until August 25, 2023, to submit their feedback.

Metering Arrangements

According to the proposed amendments an eligible consumer is an electricity consumer within the DISCOM’s service area who employs a renewable energy generation system. The system can be situated on its rooftop or another support structure on its premises. This definition encompasses consumers who collectively utilize a shared load, such as those within a housing society.

The amendments also propose the net metering arrangement or net billing arrangement should include a single-phase or a three-phase net meter located at the interconnection point, as ascertained by the DISCOM.

As per the existing clause, the net metering arrangement should include a single-phase or a three-phase net meter, as may be required, located at the point of interconnection as ascertained by the DISCOM. There is no mention of a net billing arrangement in the draft copy.

For renewable energy generation systems established within the gross metering framework, the DISCOM must install an additional meter of the appropriate class to verify the readings of the renewable energy generation meter.

In line with a new provision, if the credit amount keeps increasing over three consecutive financial years, half of the accumulated amount will be disbursed to the consumer in cash after the third fiscal year. The remaining 50% will be reflected as a credit on the consumer’s electricity bill.

The existing clause states that the DISCOM should compute the amount payable to the eligible consumer for the excess renewable energy it purchased and provide credit equivalent to the amount payable in the immediately succeeding billing cycle.

Net Billing- Energy Accounting and Settlement

The amendments propose that the accounting of electricity exported and imported by the eligible consumer should become effective from the date of connectivity of the renewable energy generating system with the distribution network.

Also, the DISCOM should undertake a meter reading of both the renewable energy generation meter and the net meter, for all eligible consumers, according to the regular metering cycle.

The energy generated by the system should be first used for self-consumption, and surplus energy injected into the grid or energy drawn from the grid should be billed.

The DISCOM should accept the power as per the useful life of the renewable energy generating system unless the eligible consumer ceases to be a consumer of the DISCOM or the renewable energy generating system is abandoned earlier.

Gross Metering-Energy Accounting and Settlement

According to the amendment, gross metering involves setting up a renewable energy generation system to sell all the electricity generated to the DISCOM through a power purchase agreement (PPA).

If the renewable energy generation system is linked to the consumer’s side of the meter, they will be required to replace the existing meter with a net meter.

As per the current provision, net billing is defined as the setup in which a renewable energy generating system is installed either to cater to a particular consumer, connected on either the DISCOM side or the consumer side of the consumer meter. Alternatively, the system can entail selling all the generated power to a DISCOM under a PPA. Here, in the place of gross metering, net billing is used.

Other Changes

A proposed clause specifies that the electricity generated by the system must primarily be utilized for personal consumption. Any excess energy fed into or drawn from the grid will be subject to billing per the regulations governing grid-interactive renewables.

As per the existing clause, the entire units generated by the renewable system in the billing period should be purchased by the DISCOM for the entire duration of the agreement.

Another proposed provision indicates that if the current metering setup does not align with the Grid Interactive Renewable Regulations, it must be substituted with a bi-directional meter. Additionally, a distinct meter for measuring renewable energy generation must be supplied. This bi-directional meter needs to be set up at the connection point to the DISCOM’s network to document the import and export of energy accurately.

The existing clause states that the existing metering system should be continued, and a separate renewable energy generation meter may be provided to measure renewable energy generation.

Last December, MERC had highlighted certain crucial amendments required to rooftop solar and green energy open access regulations. The changes included leasing rooftops or premises to install a solar system and use the power through open access.

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