Solar and Wind Energy Policy Roundup from May 2019

The Central and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions have been issuing clarifications and regulations impacting renewable energy developers

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Some of the notable policy highlights in May were regarding provisions related to the generic tariff, net-metering, deviation settlement, and clarification on wheeling charges.

This update highlights the key policy announcements made by the central and state government agencies in the renewable energy sector in the past month.

CERC

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) finalized the fifth amendment to its deviation settlement mechanism regulations, which included two new clauses: daily base deviation settlement mechanism and time block DSM. In its amendment, the commission has provided relief to generators through exemption from additional charges.

The CERC has proposed to set the national average power purchase cost (APPC) at ₹3.60 (~$0.051)/kWh for open access to be applicable during the financial year (FY) 2019-20.

MNRE

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) clarified that the secondary cells and batteries of lead-acid or nickel-based chemistries are covered under the Indian Standard (IS) 16270 for storage batteries that used in solar projects. These imports are subject to mandatory certification (IE C61427) obtained from the BIS along with a certificate issued by the MNRE mentioning its use in solar projects in India only.

MNRE has issued guidelines for the import of secondary cells and batteries of lead-acid and nickel-based chemistries that are utilized in solar project development.

States

Andhra Pradesh approved the guidelines issued by Eastern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh Limited (APEPDCL) for implementing the state’s Solar Rooftop Policy 2018 and DISCOM-driven solar rooftop program.

The Himachal Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (HPERC) has set generic levelized tariffs for solar PV projects to be set up in rural and undeveloped areas of Himachal Pradesh as ₹3.98 (~$0.0571)/kWh for capacity up to 1 MW and for projects of capacity (>1 MW & up to 5 MW) as ₹3.94 (~$0.057)/kWh. For the solar projects to be set up in industrial and urban areas of Himachal Pradesh, the HPERC has fixed ₹4.06 (~$0.0583)/kWh as the generic tariff for projects of capacity up to 1 MW and ₹4.02 (~$0.0577)/kWh for solar PV project of capacity >1 MW and up to 5 MW.

HPERC issued draft amendments to its regulation on deviation settlement mechanism. The amendments have been proposed in line with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission’s fifth draft amendment to the deviation settlement regulations which were introduced recently to accommodate the latest developments in the electricity sector.

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has set the generic tariff for solar PV  projects for FY 2019-20 at ₹3.29 (~$0.047)/kWh and ₹3.79 (~$0.054)/kWh for rooftop solar projects.

The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) for the state of Goa and union territories has issued draft regulations for determining tariffs from renewable sources including solar. The draft is up for comments and suggestions from stakeholders up to June 4, 2019.

These regulations will apply to the state of Goa and the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry. The regulations are applicable in all cases where tariff for renewable energy power generating station commissioned during the control period and based on renewable sources of energy is to be determined by the JERC. All renewable energy power projects will be treated as “must run” and the procurement of power from such projects will not be subjected to ‘merit order dispatch’ principles.

The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission clarified on how wheeling charges are to be applied for solar and wind power. The commission noted that the total energy based on the contracted capacity or the energy utilized by an open access consumer, whichever is higher, is the energy on which the wheeling charges have to be levied and cannot be imposed on any other basis.

The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission for the state of Goa and union territories has issued draft net metering regulations. The draft is up for comments and suggestions up to June 4, 2019. Under the new regulations, consumers will generate solar power for self-consumption and can feed the excess solar power into the grid, which will be adjusted under net metering. The maximum solar PV generation capacity to be installed at any eligible consumer premises must not exceed his contract demand or sanctioned load.

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