Draft coverage on rooftop solar energy deterrent, says trade


Vijay C Roy

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1

Power consumers and industry organisations in Punjab have criticised the draft Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 issued by the Central government, which limits net metering to 5 kW for rooftop solar power generation.

They are of the view that besides leading to high input cost, it would defeat the purpose of producing solar power. Currently, the cap for net metering is 1 MW.

Cap defeats purpose

On an average, a small-scale industry needs anywhere between 50 kW and 300 kW to meet its own demand. So limiting it to 5 kW will defeat the purpose — Charanjiv Singh, general secretary, Knitwear & Textile Club, Ludhiana

The sub-clause of the policy states that the regulations on grid-interactive rooftop solar PV system and its related matters shall provide for net metering for loads up to 5 kW and for gross metering for loads above 5 kW.

Net metering is an arrangement in which electricity exports are adjusted against imports, lowering the electricity bill, as electricity produced is deducted from the total electricity consumed over a fixed period of time.

On the other hand, gross metering is an arrangement in which a consumer is compensated at a fixed feed-in-tariff for the total number of units of solar energy generated and exported to the grid and has to pay the electricity distribution company.

“The proposed policy is discouraging as the industry will not get the desired benefit by installing higher generation capacity for its captive use. On an average, a small-scale industry needs anywhere between 50 kW and 300 kW capacity to meet its own demand. So limiting it to 5 kW will not serve the purpose,” said Charanjiv Singh, general secretary, Knitwear & Textile Club, Ludhiana.

According to the industry, the new draft policy will sound death knell for the solar mission.

“We are still at a nascent stage of solar industry boom and limiting the net metering load will increase our payback period,” said Gurpreet Singh, a businessman from Ludhiana.

The industry organisations said the draft policy proposed ‘gross metering’ instead of ‘net metering’ and it would prove to be an expensive affair for solar power production.

“The limit for net metering should be increased to at least 100 kW to motivate the micro and small industry to adopt solar energy,” he said.



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