Solar rooftop developers move tribunal on net metering

Developers of solar rooftop projects have challenged the Karnataka power regulator’s order in December seeking to do away with net metering for commercial and industrial consumers.

Net metering allows developers to sell electricity to the grid and deduct its value from their bill for the power drawn from the distribution company. The government encourages this system to promote renewable energy, but discoms in several states are hostile to this because they lose revenue for each unit of privately generated power.

Major developers including Amplus Solar, Fourth Partner Energy, Renew Power and Cleantech Solar have separately moved the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity against the order, people in the know said.

“They are proposing new models, influenced by Bescom (Karnataka’s main discom — Bengaluru Electric Supply Co). I suspect Bescom wants to buy any power we generate at a tariff much lower than that it charges for the power it supplies, and hence opposes net metering. The price it sets may well be so low that no projects can actually happen,” said a developer, requesting anonymity.

“The price is fixed by the KERC (Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Authority) based on the cost of panels that is available in the market. They will correlate that to the investment cost. Bescom will not get into the pricing issue,” a senior official at the discom told ET. Calls and a message sent to the KERC chairman remained unanswered as of press time Sunday.

The developer said KERC’s December 9 order went against the spirit of the Electricity Act 2003, and if implemented it would strengthen the monopoly of discoms.

ET News
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