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Express News Service

CHENNAI: Close to two months after the State government came out with the solar policy for 2019, the TN Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has recently passed an order specifying the terms for generation of rooftop solar power. But the tariff terms set by the commission have been severely opposed by experts and players in the solar market, as they allege that the consumers will be worse off in this situation.

The order will be applicable to consumers who will set-up a solar rooftop in future while the present users will follow the 2013 tariff order set by TNERC. The need to install an extra meter to measure solar generation and the type of accountability methods that decide how much money a consumer will get back based on net metering system, are two main points of contention raised by experts.

Are extra meters a necessity? 

The order mandates the user to install two meters, one to record solar generation and the other which will be bi-directional in nature, to track import and export of energy. But, as the first meter has to be fixed next to electricity distribution board in ground floor, there are high chances of loss during transmission from terrace. Secondly, laying of cable for a lengthy distance is expensive.

Thirdly, it is possible to measure generation using bi-directional meter itself. “Users who had installed solar rooftops in 2012 still have not got net meters from Tangedco. Also, for the past six months there is a severe dearth for single and three-phase electricity meters itself. In such a situation, how can a consumer run around for extra meter? The policy discourages rooftop installation,” said Raghunathan KE, founder of Solkar Solar Industry Ltd.

When Express spoke to TNERC, an official said “The commission is a quasi-judicial body. Hence,   an order is more like a judgement that cannot be modified that easily. We held an advisory meeting where all stakeholders comments were taken in. Hence, if any change needs to be done with this order, an appeal has to be filed.”

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