Metering policy hindering rooftop solar sector, CleanMax’s Jain says

May 01, 2016 01:29 am | Updated October 18, 2016 03:01 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

VIJAYAWADA, ANDHRA PRADESH, 18/10/2014: Solar power panels installed on the rooftop of the oil manufacturing factory of Gopisetty Mallaiah at Urmilanagar in Vijayawada. 
Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

VIJAYAWADA, ANDHRA PRADESH, 18/10/2014: Solar power panels installed on the rooftop of the oil manufacturing factory of Gopisetty Mallaiah at Urmilanagar in Vijayawada. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Rooftop solar sector has not really taken off mainly due to poor implementation of net metering policy, a top official at a solar energy company said.

“There are three main reasons for the rooftop solar sector being held back,” Kuldeep Jain, Managing Director, CleanMax Solar told The Hindu . “The first is that the net metering policies in most states are not being implemented. There is a lack of follow-through. For example, in Maharashtra, no forms have been released and no processes have been put in place on how to implement net metering,” he said.

Other factors hemming in the sector include stringent technical requirements and artificial restrictions on how much power can go through net metering. The net metering policy credits owners of solar energy systems, like rooftop solar, for the electricity they add to the grid. A pickup in rooftop solar systems is considered essential to meet the 175 GW renewable energy target by 2022.

“The second (factor affecting rooftop solar) is the imposition of very stringent technical requirements, which is not the case in any other country in the world,” Mr. Jain said.

“The third is the artificial restriction on capacity that can be done through net metering,” he said.

States like Maharashtra and Karnataka have a limit of 1 MW, Andhra Pradesh has a limit of 0.5 MW. “This is despite companies having much more capacity that they can send through net metering,” Mr. Jain said.

Major issue

A major issue with the solar sector in India, according to industry analysts, is the limited nature of private sector lending for such projects. This, according to Mr Jain, is due to lender fatigue when it comes to the power sector.

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