Representational pic
Representational pic

Bhopal: An amendment to the electricity rules by the MP Electricity Regulatory Commission has invited criticism from consumers and industrialists planning rooftop solar projects to meet their needs.

The Madhya Pradesh Power Regulatory Commission has issued notice for an amendment after the power ministry issued a gazette notification directing states to, henceforth, allow net metering only for rooftop solar projects with installed capacity of less than 10kW. Crossing the limit will need to satisfy gross metering.

Net metering allows grid-connect solar rooftop plant owners to supply and receive power from distribution companies (Discoms) through the same metre and pay only for the extra units consumed.

Under gross metering, power bought and sold is metered differently. This means that rooftop projects above 10kw will pay for the electricity procured from the Discom at higher rates and will receive lower rates for the same electricity they sell to the energy department.

Rajendra Agarwal, expert in electricity issues, explains it in simpler terms. A housing society installs a rooftop solar project of more than 10kW to meet its common needs. It consumes 500 units from its rooftop project and receives a bill of 600 units. The society will pay the bill of 100 units as per tariff (for instance Rs 6.50 per unit).

If the society uses 400 units from its rooftop project and supplies its excess 100 units to the power company, the power company will pay them according to the rates prescribed for the solar energy that may come to around Rs 4 or so.

In simpler terms, the power companies will buy power at cheaper rates and charge higher rates from the consumers using rooftop solar power.

An industrialist seeking anonymity said that it was surprising that the state government had notified for amendment when Union minister Nitin Gadkari had opposed the move and shot off a letter to Union power minister RK Singh.

More and more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are installing solar rooftop projects, thereby contributing to the share of clean energy in the grid, and the latest notification may well discourage them, experts feel.

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