Defined in simple terms: Net metering is a billing mechanism for the solar-powered spaces. With the government pushing for Solar energy, Net metering is a way for the solar energy consumers to not only lower their electricity bills but also contribute towards the overall power optimization.
Solar power traps the Sun’s energy or Sunlight to generate power. Most of the sunlight is received by the Earth during the afternoon. Coincidently this is also the time when most of the people are not at home. In other words, the time when the solar system produces the most of its power, the consumption drastically goes down, which results in excess power generated. So what happens to this surplus power? This power is stored in the state installed power grids. The moment this happens, Net metering kicks in, which basically means that the amount of solar power that gets into the state grid, your electricity bill is credited with that amount of money. So if you have incurred a solar-powered electricity bill of 1000/- for a month, and have generated a surplus worth Rs.700/-, your electricity bill gets credited for the surplus, making your final bill Rs.300/-.
Solar Power Net Metering – Benefits:
In India, the current government has made various efforts to get the country solar powered. The projects are still ongoing but the hurdles faced are as many too. What needs to be reiterated here, are the benefits that come from solar power adoption and net metering.
1) Does not need too many resources: Net metering synced solar systems do not need an extra area or space to be installed. These are rooftop installations and takes up about as much space as a usual rooftop solar panel does
2) State grid-charged battery: The net metering solar systems do not need to charge themselves using other sources. In India, the net metering systems use the state-owned power grids for the purpose.
3) Saves on Power wastage: Net metering systems generate electricity, save the surplus and charge itself from the state grid. This basically cuts down on any kind of transition cost. Thus solar power generated electricity, by Net metering enabled solar energy systems, negate wastage of power in transition to zero.
4) Distresses the country’s power stress: With Net metering systems, local power generation becomes possible. Additionally, it is electricity produced from the renewable source of Sun. Hence it eventually is locally produced electricity, which ultimately lowers the per capita burden of power footprints not only on fossil fuel produced electricity but also on the national power production.
Net Metering – Hurdles:
With benefits that sound so good, one would think that adopting to Net metering would be an incentive, everyone will be vying for. However, most of the things are easier said than done. Here are a few hurdles that have been hampering the adoption of net metering in India.
One of the most prominent hurdles in India is posed by the government-backed DISCOMS. Responsible for finding financial solutions for the power sector, some of the biggest payers for DISOCMS is not on the Net metering solar system. With Solar power being pushed for, DISCOMS is not willing to let go of these payers and lose them to Net metering.
Size matters when it comes to net metering in the solar panels. Bigger the panels more would be the solar powered electricity produced. This is a hurdle when rooftop solar panels are intended to be installed commercially. Most of the states in India have a cap on the capacity at 1MW.
Net meter solar systems come at a price. Many who understand the benefits if this system wants to adopt this technology, but finance becomes a hurdle. Though most of the cities allow a third party owned installation for the purpose, some do not. This is another hurdle that needs to be worked around.
Approval time taken is way too much in some states. Since each state has its own policy for net metering. With multiple layers of approval needed for the systems, it takes around 3 to 6 months sometimes.
Net metering is an initiative, which aims at encouraging more people to adopt solar powered systems. It is also a serious effort, to lower fossil fuel powered power consumption. With net metering, the transition to green energy should be smooth. Solar energy is the green energy, which is made cost effective by net metering.