Net Metering Regulations: Consumers can sell self-produced electricity at off peak rates
ISLAMABAD: The consumers can sell electricity to power distribution companies at off peak rates, which they generate through solar and wind systems. Instead of staying just as consumers, the clients of power distribution companies have been provided with a modern facility of selling the extra electricity. The government ultimately introduced this technology to facilitate power-producing companies and to help overcome the unending power deficit in the country.
The Net Metering Regulations recently introduced by the federal government establishes a flexible regulatory regime where any consumer can install solar panels and sell excess electricity to the concerned distribution company by following a simple process.
“The system will help in fulfilling the power generation gap resulting in reduced load shedding,” said National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Chairman Brig (r) Tariq Saduzai. It would not only ensure uninterrupted power supply for the consumers but would also help the establishment of clear and consistent tariff regime where consumers would be charged the same rate as what they receive from the distribution company, he added.
“This system would promote electricity generation through solar and wind energy which is clean, environment friendly and renewable. Promoting clean and renewable energy is a priority of the government,” the chairman said.
Any consumer who meets the requirements of a Distributed Generator, by being a 3 phase domestic, commercial or industrial, can submit an application to the distribution company along with the necessary documents and Pakistan power distribution companies (DISCO) would acknowledge the receipt and would inform whether the application is complete in all respect. If the consumer qualifies as a Distributed Generator, then a standard agreement as approved by the authorities would be signed and the distribution company would send a copy of the agreement to the authorities within seven days. The government has made Net Metering Arrangement very simple to attract more consumers
“The system includes five steps including, Submission of Application by the Consumer, Technical Review of Application by DISCO, Signing of Net Metering Agreement, Payment of Interconnection Charges by the Consumer, Sale and Purchase of Electricity,” said NEPRA Spokesperson Ayesha Tassaduq, when contacted by APP. Many countries like USA, Germany, Australia, Brazil, UK, Japan, India, China and Thailand are now generating electricity in bulk through solar system, she added.
She was of the view that Pakistan receives one of the best solar irradiation in the world and has a potential to generate over 2.324 million megawatts (MW) per annum through solar thermal and photovoltaic systems.
She stated that India has already installed solar power projects of 3,000MW capacity, China of 22,000MW and Germany succeeded in installing 38,000MW capacity so NEPRA has approved and uploaded news on its website, the Net Metering Regulations 2015, to facilitate all those consumers having an excess power generated through Solar (PV) panels or Wind Power to be sold to their concerned Distribution Company (DISCO) and receive monetary benefits.
The Net metering regime also allows utility customers, having a three phase electricity connection, to offset some or all of their electricity use with self produced electricity. Net metering works by utilising a meter that is able to record energy flow in both directions, Ayesha said.
The meter records when consumers are both drawing power from the utility grid and also when energy is being sent back to the grid and at the end of a given month, the consumer is billed only for the net electricity used.Net metering works only for grid connected systems and what makes it so beneficial, besides offsetting a self consumption, is that excess energy sent to the utility will be paid for, at the rate identified in the regulations, she added.
“The consumer may produce 5 units of electricity every hour, with a 5 KW system costing around Rs 650,000 to 700,000. This adds up to a total of 35 units every day, considering the average daylight for7 hours available for Solar panels to operate,” she said.
She said that by producing 35 units per day, a consumer would be able to produce 1,050 units in 30 days, assuming that the consumer is being paid Rs 13 per unit, the total amount of money that could be made every month would be around Rs 13,650, adding that, if there is an average consumption of 600 units/ month for domestic use, 450 units could still be sold.