Lack of meters stop homes from tapping rooftop solar energy

People trying to tap green energy by installing rooftop solar panels are finding it next to impossible to get the mandatory net meter from Tangedco, the state’s discom. Net meter measures the quantum of power generated, consumed and provided to the grid.

Many plants installed in the city are idling for three to six months because of non-availability of the meter. Area engineers and contractors empanelled to install solar panels say Tangedco orders and gets net meters in batches, and the next batch is awaited. 

The waiting period varies with the place. Some localities in Mandaveli and RA Puram got net meters in three-and-a half months, while residents of T Nagar have waiting for up to six months. Around 6,500 people in Tamil Nadu have installed solar panels on their rooftops.

Tangedco officials said as per a Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) order in March, consumers can purchase the meter from the market. Earlier, only Tangedco could provide the meter. Contractors, however, said they were being discouraged to buy meters from the market and are being coaxed to go through the discom. “The reasons are obvious,” said a contractor who has around 15 stuck projects, indicating corruption.

The new TNERC order will come as a blow to rooftop solar consumers as the reduction in their bi-monthly electricity bills due to the net solar units imported to the grid, will not be as much as earlier. Those who have installed before March this year will continue to be governed by the earlier 2013 order.

As per the new order, the scheme will be called solar net feed-in scheme, and consumers will have to install two meters. One is to measure solar power generation and the other is to measure import and export energy. The first meter is to be placed on the ground floor of the premises to facilitate easy access for meter reading. The second meter shall be a bi-directional meter, said the order.

The assessor shall take the readings of both the solar generation meter and the bi-directional meter. A new meter card shall be evolved by the licensee with details of meter readings, solar generation, units of import/ export, monetary value of imported and exported energy, available credit, payment to be made in each billing period to the distribution licensee on account of higher debit value,columns to incorporateinitials of assessor, consumer, and any other requisite details as may be necessary. 

The distribution licensee shall host the list of manufacturers of such meters on their website. Position and sealing of meters will be guided by the same provisions as applicable to consumer meters in the CEA metering regulations,” said the official.

“The surplus / excess energy (generated and not utilised) that flows to the grid and recorded in the export register of the meter shall at the end of the billing period be calculated at a tariff fixed by the commission and credited to the consumer’s account,” explained the contractor. The tariff for rooftop is likely to be ₹2.50 per unit. A Tangedco official said the tariff may soon be revised.

Source: ET

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