Madhya Pradesh, a participant in the event, sees tariff fall to Rs 1.38 but net metering remains a challenge
How did the global renewable energy conference RE-Invest 2018, hosted in power deficit Uttar Pradesh, illuminate itself? The three-day event at the India Expo Centre in Noida, showcasing India’s best in green energy capability, was actually a case of ‘prosumer’ that has successfully adopted the net metering concept.
The 10 acres of solar rooftop plant at the convention centre was setting off about 3.5 Mw of power with the state’s grid. It had generated this power earlier during the non-peak consumption period, and hence belonged to the category of what the industry calls producer consumers or ‘prosumer’.
Under the solar-lit rooftop of the convention centre, there was another booster for such form of decentralised power generation. Madhya Pradesh, one of the participating states at the event, on Friday discovered a historically low rooftop solar tariff of Rs 1.38 per unit (kilowatt/hour). This would be the first-year tariff for central government buildings in the state. State government medical colleges received bid for Rs 1.63.
The state opened the bids at its exhibition stall where Hyderabad-based TEPSOL bagged PPA at Rs 1.6278 for over 7 Mw to be generated at 11 locations belonging to medical colleges. Another company Archita bagged contract for 1,200 Kw for two buildings at a rate of Rs 1.38.
Madhya Pradesh last week made a record of sorts by witnessing signing of as many as 427 PPAs for solar rooftop after the first round of bidding in rooftop solar under the RESCO (renewable energy service company) model. The first round had seen the premises of Power Grid Corporation in the state getting the cheapest solar power at Rs 1.58, which was the lowest till the second round threw up another low. New Delhi-based AMPSOLAR India had bid the lowest for 10 sites of the central government PSUs. It bid Rs 1.67 for some other central government buildings in the state.
“Immediately after the opening of second round of bids, the work orders were issued and power purchase agreements (PPAs) were signed, which often takes an indeterminate amount of time. This made the process extremely transparent, trustworthy and prompt,” said Manu Srivastava, principal secretary, renewable energy, Madhya Pradesh government.
MP’s RESCO model facilitates the beneficiary consumer to buy solar power with zero upfront investment and at rates much below the prevailing DISCOM rates. The beneficiary consumer pays for the electricity as it is generated by the selected contractor, who undertakes design, supply and installation, along with operation and maintenance for 25 years. The selection of the contractor is made on the basis of the lowest tariff offered.
The discovered tariffs are starkly lower than what were the prevailing rates few years back when Amplus Solar bagged the contract for India Expo Centre about two years back. Speaking to Business Standard, Sanjeev Aggarwal, managing director, Amplus Solar Energy Solutions said the company charges Rs 5 a unit but it was still less than Rs 8 grid power. “We generate about 500,000 units yearly on which there is a clear saving of Rs 3,” he says.
When the centre does not have an ongoing event, it consumes about 1 MW of power but the requirement rises to 7-8 MW during an event. Aggarwal said about two third of power requirement is met through rooftop generation while the remaining one third is taken from the distribution company through the grid.
Though solar rooftop market is estimated to be 10,000-15,000 MW in the next few years, Aggarwal said the net metering concept had still some challenges. “Distribution companies take time in giving clearances making it tough,” he said. Net metering reduces power that distribution companies bill to their large customers taking away a good chunk of their business.