NEW DELHI: To promote electricity generation from renewable sources, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has come out with a draft framework for group net metering and virtual net metering wherein multiple consumers can be beneficiaries of a single solar plant at one location.
After the Delhi solar policy was issued in 2016, the power watchdog constituted a committee for developing the framework and has now issued the draft guidelines under DERC (Net Metering for Renewable Energy) Regulations 2014. Outlining how both options will work in the city, the commission has asked stakeholders to submit their suggestions/comments/objections on the guidelines by January 19, 2019.
The 2016 policy considers solar power to be the most viable form of green energy in Delhi, which has the potential of lowering the state’s expenditure on energy, strengthening its energy security, and reducing its reliance on unsustainable fossil fuels, said an official.
The current move focuses on how more than one consumer can benefit from a single solar plant, either through surplus solar energy for self-consumption or pro-rata credit in the electricity bill by their respective discoms.
While as per group net metering, surplus energy exported to the grid from a solar plant can be adjusted in any other (one or more) electricity service connection(s) of the consumer within Delhi, virtual net metering will allow multiple consumers to be joint beneficial owners of a collectively owned solar panel wherein all energy produced by it will be fed into the grid and any surplus energy will lead to pro-rata credit in their electricity bills. As both options are relatively new in Delhi, the guidelines say these will be first made applicable in government entities.
Under group net metering, different connections in the name of individuals of different departments/organisations in a discom area will be treated as one consumer. If the capacity of a plant is more than the sanctioned load of the premises on which it is installed, the consumer will pay the differential amount of service line-cum-development (SLD) charges.
Discoms will pay for installing smart meters at generation points and show, separately, the energy units exported and imported, the net energy units billed and/or the energy units carried forward, if any, in consumers’ bills. During any billing cycle, the discom will raise the bill only after adjusting the unadjusted energy credits of the previous billing cycle(s), says the guidelines.
Under virtual net metering, consumers can collectively own a solar system, but the adjustment of energy generated from a solar plant will be credited in the bill of each participating consumer on the basis of the share of the beneficial ownership in the plant at the time of application for connectivity under the framework.
If during any billing period, the export of electricity units exceeds the import of units consumed, such surplus units will be carried forward to the next billing period as energy credit and adjusted against the energy consumed in subsequent billing periods, says the guidelines.