MERC increases net metering cap for rooftop solar projects to 5 MW

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has raised net metering cap for rooftop solar projects to 5 MW from the earlier cap at 1 MW in the state. The commission introduced these modifications through an amendment to the prevailing solar rooftop regulations 2019. According to the amendment, the capacity of renewable energy generation system for net metering arrangement will be capped either at contract demand of the consumer or 5 MW, whichever is lower.

The rise in the net metering limit aims to promote the uptake of rooftop installations in commercial and industrial sectors. The commission has additionally permitted consumers to choose group net metering, net billing, or a behind-the-meter connection. The changes are included in the most recent regulations of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission titled “Grid Interactive Rooftop Renewable Energy Generating Systems (First Amendment) Regulations, 2023.” A consumer who uses a renewable energy generating system and consumes electricity within the discom service area will be an eligible consumer under the proposed changes.  The system may be installed on the building’s rooftop or another support structure.

The commission has stated that grid support charges will not be enforced until the cumulative installed rooftop capacity in the state reaches 5 GW. Additionally, as per the modification, gross metering entails establishing a renewable energy generation system with the purpose of selling all generated electricity to distribution company (discom) through a power purchase agreement. Nevertheless, the current meter needs to be substituted with a net meter if the renewable energy generating system is connected to the consumer’s side of the meter.

The Commission has implemented group net metering in the recent amendment. It entails adding more units to the grid from a rooftop system or any other mounting structure on the customer’s property. These surplus units will be offset against the energy consumed in the monthly bill of service connections, following a priority list and sharing ratio. In cases where, within a billing period, the quantity of exported units surpasses the imported units, the excess units are rolled over as energy credits to the subsequent billing period.

The net billing arrangement involves the discom buying extra energy that a rooftop system injects into the grid. Once credit for energy injected into the grid at a predetermined tariff has been given, the discom issues bills to the consumer for their grid consumption at the sanctioned grid tariff.