Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission (TSERC) has relaxed rules for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to install rooftop solar plant above 1 MW under net-meter regulation. Generally net-meter regulation restricts consumers to install a capacity only up to 1 MW. The minimum capacity should be 1 KW. There are separate regulations for capacities over and above 1MW. They are either for third party sale or Captive Power Plant (CPP).
Reasons for relaxing rooftop solar regulation for HAL
HAL is a PSU under the Ministry of Defence (MoD). GOI which has set up a target to install 100 GW solar power plants by 2022 has allocated 300 MW to defence establishments across India. During the same time duration, HAL is supposed to install 50 MW solar power capacity.
In its petition before the commission, HAL had contented that rooftop solar only through the net-meter connection best suited it to achieve the aforementioned target. It cannot carry out any commercial business by taking ownership of solar power plants. Further, it cannot go for CPP plants due to the deviation of the activity from its core business.
HAL also contended that its units in Uttar Pradesh could use rooftop solar above 1 MW with net-meter. Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) has relaxed the norms for its various units across the state.
In wake of these circumstances, TSERC favoured the PSU in relaxing the regulatory norms. The state regulatory commission also noted that while dealing with the net-meter regulation petitioner’s status as PSU under MoD should be kept in mind. At the same time, the target set up by the central and state government’s for such PSUs should be considered too. These won’t obstruct the PSUs from reaching their rooftop solar targets.
Regulatory restrictions are one of the many obstructions in rooftop solar capacity building. While TSERC decision to relax norms is based on petitioner’s status as PSU under MoD State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) should relax the norms for consumers without special status. SolarDae also advocates the use of gross-meter on buildings which can install rooftop solar plants above 1 MW. This will unlock the demand for rooftop solar plants in the country.
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