Rajasthan Ups Net Metering Cap for Rooftop Solar from 500 kW to 1 MW

The Commission said there was underutilization of rooftop solar despite the state's potential


The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) has increased the cap on net metering from 500 kW to 1 MW for rooftop solar installations.

In a suo motu order, the Commission said the net metering ceiling increase is to encourage the penetration of rooftop solar installations.

The state’s Grid Interactive Distributed Renewable Energy Generating Systems (DREGS) Regulations, 2021, cover various aspects, including net metering and net billing arrangements, for renewable energy systems connected to the grid. They apply to systems operating behind the meter and in parallel with distribution licensees’ grids, with eligibility for net metering arrangements determined by the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020.

The Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Amendment Rules, 2021, issued by the Ministry of Power, directed state electricity regulatory commissions to determine the capacity for net-metering arrangements. These arrangements, including net-metering, gross-metering, net-billing, or net feed-in, must comply with regulations set by the State Commission.

If the regulations fail to specify net-metering, net-billing, or net feed-in, the Commission may permit net metering for loads up to 500 kW or the sanctioned load, whichever is lower, and net-billing or net feed-in for other loads.

The RERC DREGS Regulations 2021 state that eligibility for net metering arrangements must follow the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020, as amended. Additionally, if needed, the Commission can issue directions or orders to implement the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Amendment Rules 2020.

Based on the RERC DREGS Regulations 2021 and MOP ROC Amendment Rules 2021, the Commission had decided in September 2021 that net metering would apply to loads up to 500 kW or the sanctioned load, whichever is lower, for all consumer categories.

Additionally, according to regulation 7 of the RERC DREGS Regulations 2021, the Commission noted that it had the authority to permit net metering for renewable energy generating systems up to 1 MW, provided that the maximum capacity does not surpass 100% of the consumer’s sanctioned load or contract demand.

Rajasthan, in its recently issued Renewable Energy Policy 2023, emphasizes the promotion of rooftop solar projects through mechanisms like net metering and gross metering. The state has the highest potential for solar capacity in the country, with an estimated capacity of 142 GW, representing about 25% of the nation’s total solar capacity of 73 GW.

Despite this potential, the installed rooftop solar capacity in Rajasthan is only 1 GW. Additionally, the penetration of rooftop solar in Rajasthan’s energy mix, particularly in the distribution companies (DISCOMs) basket, is at less than 2%.

The Commission observed that lately, there has also been a power shortage in the state, forcing DISCOMs to purchase costly power from exchanges. The state also has a target of daytime power supply to agriculture consumers. It said certain establishments have the capacity (in terms of space availability and financial resources) to install higher-capacity rooftop solar plants on their premises.

From time to time, DISCOMs have proposed curtailing the withdrawal of stored solar energy units during peak hours, imposing specific charges, and enforcing compulsory storage systems for rooftop power systems. However, given the current level of rooftop solar penetration, it would not be prudent to enforce these restrictions, charges, or conditions at present.

The Commission said it may contemplate introducing such restrictions later.

Recently, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy allotted Central Public Sector Undertakings state-wise responsibility for accelerating the implementation of rooftop solar programs across the country.

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