Indian States Move Forward With Solar Net Metering & Solar Leasing

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Indian states are making noticeable progress in implementing rooftop solar net metering with an attempt to expand distributed solar power infrastructure.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission recently issued draft guidelines for solar net metering after years of attempts to implement an effective and popular policy. The regulations, if approved, would allow homeowners and project developers to export electricity from rooftop solar power projects.

As per the guidelines, homeowners can either own the solar power systems on their own or lease out their roofs to project developers. The entire system will be equipped with two meters — one to measure the electricity generated from the solar power system and the other to measure the export/import of electricity from the grid.

The size of the power system is expected to be based on the sanctioned load of the consumer. The power generated from the solar power system will be consumed by the homeowner while any excess electricity will be injected into the grid. The net import of electricity will be chargeable to the consumer.

The power, either injected into the grid or consumed by owners of solar power systems, will be adjusted against the Renewable Purchase Obligation of the distribution companies. This is a critical part of the proposed guidelines as it would encourage the distribution companies to set up the infrastructure to enable implementation of such systems.

The proposed guidelines have won praise from Greenpeace India, which has been pushing for rooftop solar power policies such as solar net metering in Delhi. According to a report released by Greenpeace last year, Delhi can generate 4.5 billion kWh every year and meet 16% of its electricity needs by covering only 1.6% of its rooftops with solar power systems.

Another state looking to strengthen solar power infrastructure is Punjab. The state government has cleared a solar net metering policy to facilitate installation of 100 MW of rooftop solar power capacity. While details of the policy have not been revealed yet, the state government had earlier announced plans to cover roofs of government buildings with 100 MW solar power capacity.

The state also plans to install 2,000 MW of solar power capacity through utility-scale power projects. The central government will help the state achieve this ambitious target. The state government has so far auctioned about 250 MW solar power capacity.

A number of other Indian states have also tried their hands at implementing solar net metering policies. A successful implementation of these policies across the country would enable a massive push in India’s solar energy revolution.

Image credit: Solar panels via Waynenf | CC by 2.0

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