Rooftop solar: Policy, regulations and the current situation in Haryana

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Haryana is catching up fast on the solar buzz that has been around for a while. Although the solar policy was out in September 2014 and the net-metering regulations by November 2014, recently this was followed by an amendment which looks progressive.

In my blog today, I will focus on ‘Rooftop solar’ in Haryana. First let’s look at the policy (refer), regulations and amendments in brief and then move onto looking at some on ground action.

There are 3 main segments within the rooftop space:

  • Cluster of rooftops of public buildings: Aggregate capacity for each cluster would be 1 MW with a maximum of 500 KW installed on a single building.
  • Cluster of private buildings in cities: IPPs would be allowed to rent rooftops of private building clusters (that can install 500-1000 KW/ cluster) at a mutually agreed rent, power from which would be purchased by DISCOMs.
  • Rooftop of individual buildings: These customers are eligible for net metering by installing a system at their own cost. The state government will provide a total subsidy of 40% (inclusive of the 15% offered by MNRE) on cost of the system. However, this only makes sense if the subsidy is disbursed timely. Otherwise, the subsidy mechanism will only function as a way to stall installations in Haryana.

For segment 1 and 2 above, selection of the developer would be made on the basis of the maximum discount being offered on the levelised tariff set by HERC. If this mechanism is not accompanied by a tab on the equipment being used, there would be developers offering a lower tariff rate by compromising on the quality. HERC must enforce standards set by CEA and ensure its monitoring.

Now looking at the last segment of customers. The net-metering regulations (refer) and application procedure is pretty standard. I will highlight some points that are unique to the state:

  • If power is generated by a single consumer on multiple premises and the overall size is below 250 KW, then the distribution licensee may purchase all of the power (through gross metering) at a mutually agreed tariff. Looking at the DISCOMs financial situation in Haryana that have an accumulated debt of 28,199 crore (refer), the solar policy will move into a limbo.
  • The regulation states that a cumulative capacity of 200 MW shall be allowed through net-metering. The aim of the state is to install 50 MW (by the state) of rooftop solar till 2017.
  • According to the amendment (refer) that has followed, the transformer capacity available for net-metering has been raised to 30% from 15% (for interconnection with the grid at low tension). Further, data on the capacity available and that installed under net metering will be made available on the licensee’s website on a six monthly basis rather than only once a year. This does speak of progressive thinking in the state with strong push and expectation on the uptake of solar.

Let’s now look at some on ground reality. On May 5th 2015, there was a meeting organized by ‘Gurgaon First’ where it launched a Solar Handbook intended for decision makers involved in installing small rooftop systems in Gurgaon. The handbook is aimed at encouraging the uptake of solar in the soon to be ‘Smart City’ (Gurgaon). Following were the concerns raised by RWAs, system integrators and citizens about its uptake:

  • There is confusion whether the rule for 5% solar obligation (of buildings with area >500 sq. yards) is only for new buildings or for existing old structures as well. It’s unclear in the policy hence, residents and system integrators remain unclear as well.
  • A system integrator pointed out that DHBVN has no idea of the next steps after acceptance of the net-metering application.
  • Among others there was also a trivial concern about decreased output of the solar system caused due to damage caused by ‘monkeys’ famous in Gurgaon apartments.

All in all, there does seem some action on the ground where all the parties are trying to cope with proper implementation of the policy and regulations. Few months down the line we hope that a single party takes responsibility for hand-holding all the parties through the steps of implementation.

Tanya Batra

Tanya keeps a close track of policy updates in the field of Rooftop Solar in India and likes to write blogs on its application for the end customer