A solar metering energy system is a system that uses the electrical grid to store the excess electricity produced by domestic or commercial solar panels. The electrical meter installed inside a house or any other commercial building records the power consumption. Thus, people only need to pay for the net energy consumed by them.
To use this system, people need to have proper solar metering energy set up consisting of a solar panel, solar inverter, bidirectional meter, and an electricity connection.
Since there is an absence of a battery for power storage, an electricity connection is essential to transfer the unused energy to the grid. Therefore, this system is an economical option for people while limiting environmental pollution.
Functions of a Metering Energy System
A rooftop solar panel facilitates the generation of extra electricity than the requirement of people. However, due to the absence of a proper storage system, the electricity produced by solar panels gets wasted. The solar net metering system solves this problem by transferring the extra power to the electricity grid.
All the net metering solar power systems are connected to the electricity grid. When the solar metre produces an extra quantity of electricity, the bidirectional electric meter rotates in the reverse direction to measure the transfer of the electric unit to the grid.
The transferred electricity is credited to your bill. This means that when you need to use the electricity afterward, you only need to pay for the extra unit of electricity you consume. In addition, the bidirectional electric meter keeps a record of all the power exchanges. Therefore, you don’t need to maintain power utility on a daily basis.
Benefits of Metering Energy and Net Metering system
Net metering is an excellent way of promoting sustainable energy utilisation. It offers the following benefits to users and the environment:
- It prevents the requirement of storage battery: Solar panel owners don’t need to invest in batteries to store the extra power. The metering energy inverter easily transfers excess electric power to the grid. Whenever people need electricity, they can do so without paying an additional charge.
- It generates financial credit: Metering energy offers a great way of generating a passive income for people who have a large solar panel setup. This means that by generating multiple units of electricity, people can get either credit for further use or revenue from the state government or the electric department.
- It has a low maintenance cost: Net metering is a cost-effective option for using electric power. In addition, the transfer of excess power to the electric grid reduces the maintenance charge compared to a non-grid system.
Elaborated Process to Install Net Metering system in India
The procedure of net metering installation for metering energy in India differs in each state as different power distribution companies and electric departments have their own policies. However, the standard process involves the following steps:
- Applicants need to send an application to the SDO to seek permission to install a rooftop solar panel.
- Applicants need to collect the approval receipt from the sub-divisional officer.
- SDO completes the site verification within three days after application and approval.
- After the site inspection, SDO approves within 15 days from application submission.
- Consumer and SDO sign a net metering agreement within three days of filling up the net metering form.
- After installing the solar system, consumers shall submit a solar system certificate, property papers, installation certificate, and fees.
- In the end, a JE visits the site to inspect the solar panel installation. If all the rules are met, the JE gives permission to install a metering energy system.
Net Metering Approval Checklist
Applicants need to follow the given checklist to concisely monitor their solar metering energy application:
- Submit duly signed application.
- Provide roof right and occupancy proof.
- Applicant’s signature ID proof.
- Copy of recently paid electric bill.
- Applicants who are tenants or co-owner of property must submit the NOC of the owner or co-owners.
- Undertaking that is signed by a registered customer and attested by a notary public.
- Applicant’s photograph.
- Submit a registration form that is duly attested by the registered consumer.
- Subsidy sanction request letter.
- EPC agreement for CAPEX and PPA for RESCO.
- Receiving letter for metering energy application.
- Colored photo of the site with clear stamping of date and time before solar panel installation.
- Project report as per the Annexure-D format of tender document.
- Single lined diagram of the solar plant.
- System certification for the PV module inverters.
- Specifications of inverter and solar PV module.
- Non-judicial stamp paper agreement for metering energy connection.
Cost of Net Metering Installation
The cost of metering energy metre installation varies in different states of India. However, the general guidelines of DERC suggest that an applicant needs to pay the following charges to install net metering systems:
- Application charge: Rs. 500
- Registration charge: It varies according to the capacity of the solar panel.
The following table broadly demonstrates charges for each solar panel capacity for metering energy:
|1 to 10
|10 to 50
|50 to 100
|100 to 300
|300 to 500
The following table provides the information for meter charges paid by the customers:
|Type of net meter
|Charge (in Rs)
|HT net meter
|LTCT net meter
|Three-phase net meter
|Single-phase net meter
Metering Energy Stats and Policy in the Various States
India has achieved 40 gigawatts of rooftop solar energy generation by the financial year 2022. Earlier, the metering energy for rooftop solar panels was set at one megawatt, which was cut down to nearly 10 KW in 2020.
#1. Metering Energy stats in Punjab
Punjab stands at the tenth position for having the largest solar panel set up in India. In 2018 Punjab’s solar capacity was estimated at around 845 MW.
In the present scenario, the state gets more than 6% of its total electricity from solar net metering, which will rise in the coming future.
#2. Metering Energy stats in Haryana
The Haryana government provides financial assistance to applicants installing solar panels for net metering.
For the applicant’s convenience, the state government allows people to complete the registration process through online mode. The distribution licensee shall provide metering energy facilities to qualified consumers in its region of supply on a non-discriminatory and first-come, first-served basis.
#3. Metering Energy stats in Maharashtra
Maharashtra has the 8th largest solar panel set up in the country. In the 2018 financial year, Maharashtra’s fourth-quarter solar power generation from metering energy was around 1,311 MW.
The Maharashtra government uses a metering energy system to keep track of electricity generated in the state through solar panels.
#4. Metering Energy stats in Delhi
Delhi aims to produce 2,000 MW of power through metering energy until 2025. Although the government has mandated the installation of solar panels in all the government buildings, it still lags in achieving its target.
#5. Metering Energy stats in Karnataka
Karnataka state government has proposed to generate over 500 kW of power through metering energy. In addition, KERC has suggested a tariff rate of Rs. 3.82 per kWh for domestic solar installation, which has a capacity between 1 to 10 KW.
For larger solar panels set up of capacity 1 KW to 2 MW, the tariff rate is 2.84 per kWh.
A Net metering system is the best solar power generation system because it lets you use the required unit of electricity and exchange the excess power for revenue or credit.
People don’t need to set up and maintain an electricity storage unit because the bidirectional electric meter conveniently transfers unused energy to the electric grid.
Moreover, this system promotes pollution-free power generation, which reduces harsh effects on the environment.
1. Can I use power from the net metering system during a power cut?
No, this system only allows you to use electricity when there is a power supply in your area. Since no battery or other storage device is involved, using electric current during a power cut becomes impossible.
2. Is it possible to sell surplus electricity generated domestically?
You can easily sell any surplus unit of electricity to the government or power distribution company by connecting your solar power generation system to the state’s electricity grid.
3. Can I use a general-purpose inverter for net metering?
No, rather it is crucial to use a solar inverter. The specific design of this inverter facilitates the convenient conversion of direct current obtained from solar panels into alternating current, which is then either used for household purposes or transferred to the grid.