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MERC Denies Amendments To Rooftop Solar Open Access Regulations

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MERC Denies Amendments To Rooftop Solar Open Access Regulations

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Rooftop solar and open access rules for green energy were the subject of a recent petition submitted to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) by an individual, that highlighted several essential changes that are necessary.

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The modifications included renting rooftops or buildings so that a solar power system could be installed and used with open access. He also requested collective captive solar generation for self-consumption.

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The appellant has further requested that the Commission instruct the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) to alter the way in which it pays rooftop solar producers.

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The petitioner claimed that for using electricity in the evening peak hours, users pay an additional price of Rs. 1.10/kWh.

The balance is made up of standard energy prices after paying the additional peak hour charges. In light of this, the petitioner contends that this energy should also be set off that produced by rooftop solar systems.

Therefore, it was proposed in the petition that unutilized generation and 30% banking fees be used to balance the evening peak hour usage. 

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The petitioner asked for the capacity restriction on solar system installation to be lifted. He further recommended increasing the network hosting capacity by up to 150% of the transformer capacity.

The customer should be able to buy rooftops or other properties, or rent such properties, in order to install solar systems. The transmission of energy from the generation to the consumer’s premises through Open Access should be permitted.

The petitioner requested 8, 3-hour open access blocks, commencing at 00.00 hours, which will mostly correspond to the peak and off-peak hours of usage.

However, the regulator rejected the petitioner’s request to use stored energy to counterbalance the evening peak. It was observed that only customers covered by the time-of-day rate structure are subject to this obligation. Only off-peak hours may be used to offset any excess stored energy.

The petitioner’s request that renewable energy generating capacity not be constrained by the consumer’s authorized to load or contractual demand, nonetheless, was not granted by the Commission.

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The Commission acknowledged that some of the petitioner’s concerns regarding adjustments and compensation for the produced units were valid. This issue needs to be dealt with transparently throughout the public consultation phase.

It decrees that the matter would be addressed while dealing with the revisions for putting the new regulations into effect and different strategies used by other State Commissions to promote renewable energy will also be considered.

The regulator remarked that, provided that the customer bears the costs and losses associated with distributing the energy through open access, the petitioner’s request regarding rooftop leasing might be implemented through the Distribution Open Access Regulations.

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