MERC Clarifies the Terms for Granting Open Access for Solar

The commission heard a petition filed by Roha Dyechem Pvt. Ltd


A ruling by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has clarified that the nodal agency will grant medium-term open access (MTOA) or short-term open access (STOA) in the existing distribution system only if the resultant power flow can be accommodated.

The MERC heard a petition filed by Roha Dyechem Pvt. Ltd. (RDPL) seeking MERC’s directions to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) regarding the terms of open access permissions.

What Was the Case About?

RDPL set up 15 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in two phases (10 MW and 5 MW) in the 30 MW solar park located in Akola district. RDPL intended to use solar energy under open access at its Mumbai plant.

RDPL submitted its open access application of 10 MW for self-use. However, the request was not granted by MSEDCL, citing excessive resultant power flow.

According to MSEDCL, RDPL submitted its application on February 2, 2018 seeking STOA for the project from March 1, 2018 to March 31, 2018. However, it was observed that the resultant power flow, taking into consideration various factors like the contract demand and solar generation capacity utilization factor (CUF) was 3.928 MVA whereas the power which could be accommodated as per the metering constraint is only 2.85 MVA.

MSEDCL had requested RDPL to confirm the STOA demand or a contract demand to be processed so that the resultant power flow could be accommodated into the existing distribution system. RDPL did not submit the compliance as requested by MSEDCL within the stipulated period.

Instead, RDPL requested MSEDCL to consider the allotment of open access for 5 MW for the period of March 1, 2018 to March 31, 2018 which was granted by MSEDCL.

RDPL again submitted application for STOA of 10 MW. When being asked by MSEDCL to reconsider, the firm approached MERC.

The Ruling

MERC did not accept the plea of RDPL to direct MSEDCL to grant open access permission for the quantum of 10 MW from its solar PV project.

The MERC directed MSEDCL to examine the issue afresh in a holistic manner, considering all provisions and metering infrastructure and to inform the petitioner (RDPL) accordingly.

In June 2018, the MERC also clarified that generators cannot use both open access and net metering simultaneously, and reiterated that the benefits of net-metering are limited to rooftop solar installations of only up to 1 MW.

Saumy Prateek Saumy is a senior staff reporter with covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.