Solar Net Metering Installation In India: 9 Things You Must Know
What is net metering and what are some of the important things which you must know about solar net metering installation in India?
In one of our earlier posts, we wrote about the net metering policy in Maharashtra state. We also introduced this concept in the past where we explained net metering for grid-connected solar PV systems. But it’s time we reintroduce net metering and inform our readers about some important aspects of solar net metering installation in India. So let’s start with the basics i.e. what is net metering?
What is Net Metering?
Solar energy producers are capable of producing more electricity than what they consume at any given time. Net metering allows them to inject this unused electricity to the main grid and take credit for same in the electricity bill.
But why do you want to produce more and export extra power into the grid?
Look at the grid as a virtual storage where you can “store” (not physically, though) excess power generated from your solar panels. When you do so, the net metering arrangement allows you to record how much power you have exported. In exchange of this exported power, you can consume (or import) energy from the grid when you need it, like when your solar power system is producing lesser power than required or not producing anything at all (e.g. evening time, or night).
The regulatory mechanism to do so is called net metering and a net meter (aka bi-directional meter) is a device that records the units of electricity exported and imported to-and-fro from the utility grid. At the end of each month,
- The consumer is billed only for the net imported energy (i.e. Import minus Export) if that is positive.
- Any excess energy (if export minus import is positive) is carried forward to next month’s bill for use
- The net metering arrangement allows for excess exported energy to be carried forward until the end of the ongoing financial year, at the end of which the utility company typically reimburses the customer for extra units exported.
Things you must know about net metering installation in India
- It allows you to use energy generated by the solar plant during times when the sun is not available
With net metering, you can generate excess energy in the daytime and then use it back during night time / low-sunlight hours.
- It allows you access more power than produced by your solar PV system
If your solar plant cannot generate enough electricity to satisfy your needs, extra power needed can be taken from the main grid and you will just have to pay for the units taken from the main grid.
- It can be availed by those who have a grid-connected or an on-grid solar PV system
Grid-tied solar PV system is an arrangement of your solar panel connection wherein electricity can be drawn from the traditional utility grid (mainline) as well as from the solar panels. To avail a net metering connection, solar users must have a grid-connected or on-grid solar PV system.
- Indian states have net metering policies in place
States such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan all have robust net metering policies in place. In all the mentioned states, a net metering connection can be availed on systems under 1 MWp.
- There is an application process for solar net meter installation
In order to avail a net metering connection, the applicants must apply at their local DISCOMs. Though the exact process differs state-wise, the local DISCOMs consider various avenues before installing a net meter on the site.
- Applications are granted based on system output/size:
LT Systems (Low Tension Systems)
-Low powered systems used generally for residences, small shops or showrooms
-The application process requires basic documentation such as electricity bills and records about concerned solar PV system.
HT Systems (High Tension Systems)
-High tension systems are used to power big projects such as industries or large commercial users.
-The application process is more detailed and typically takes a longer time.
- Net metering is ideal for home solar users
With net metering, residential solar power users can reduce their dependency on the main grid for power as well as reduce their power bills.
- Net metering helps commercial users reduce power bills
Commercial setups have a sizeable demand for energy and solar net metering can support that demand without increasing business power bills.
- Net metering can help when the climate is rough
The total output from solar panels can be less during the monsoon and cloudy days. With a net metering arrangement in place, solar power users can utilize the export credits (if any). On a typical cloudy day (overcast), solar panel power output may be lower, but there may still be a significant production of power generated. Similarly, even though solar panels do not produce power at night, the idea is to generate excess energy in the daytime so as to offset the night time consumption, which can be achieved by net metering.
About Insolergy Technologies
Insolergy is one of the top solar EPC companies in India. The company provides residential, commercial and industrial solar solutions.