Nagpur: The proposed policy recently released by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) for its tariff determination for renewable projects in the state for generation and sale of electricity appeared to be not going down well with the body of solar panel manufacturers. Maharashtra Solar Manufacturers Association (MASMA), the body of the manufacturers, on Tuesday raised serious objections over the draft saying that the new policy would discourage consumers from installing solar panels. “The proposed policy seems to have been designed to benefit only the power distribution company. There is nothing in the proposed policy that could attract or motivate consumers. If the new policy comes into effect, power consumers will not go for solar energy which will subsequently affect the environment,” said Saket Suri, President of the Vidarbha Chapter of the association. Suri said that the concept of net metering has been removed from the proposed policy.
“Because of this, the consumers will have to buy power from the suppliers at higher rates while supplying it at a lower price. There will be a huge disparity in the rates. We want the authorities to scrap the policy,” he said in a press conference held here. Net metering has been in practice in Maharashtra which is aimed at making distributed renewable energy more accessible and economical for electricity consumers. Net metering works by calculating the difference between the export of power generated by the consumer from a rooftop solar installation, and the import of power from the distribution company. Consumers are then compensated for the surplus power generated at a price determined by the State. As per the new policy, the consumers falling in a commercial category will have to buy power at rates that will be at least three times more than that of the rates applicable for power supplied by the consumers (through solar panels).
Suri said that the association would raise an objection before the commission and sought drastic changes in it. “To promote green energy, the commission should carry forward the net metering and it should not fix any upper cap on it, he said. The commission has issued the draft version on October 26 for its tariff determination regulation order for renewable projects that are commissioned in the state for the generation and sale of electricity to distribution licensees in Maharashtra. Apart from this, it is important to note that as per the new regulations, the project-specific tariff for the generation of electricity from renewable sources should follow the ceiling norms. The consumers and other stakeholders may raise objections over the proposed policy until November 18.