In India, energy watchdog the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has outlined a net metering policy for rooftop solar in the capital in a move that could prompt the wider adoption of distributed renewable energy generation throughout the country.

Residents and businesses will be able to earn credits from any kind of surplus renewable energy that they supply to the grid, but rooftop solar is considered the most feasible due to Delhi's population density and limited land availability, reports trade website PV Tech.

Distributed generation

DERC said the net metering policy outlined last week marked the first step forwards in creating the necessary regulatory conditions to stimulate distributed renewable energy generation in the city.

“After almost two years of waiting, DERC has been wise in taking up the novel model of net-metering, which has proved successful both internationally and nationally for rooftop generation,” Greenpeace India said in a statement.

Net metering tariffs

Although the policy document does not specify what tariffs will underpin the new system, the Times of India reported that these will be published within a couple of weeks, with figures of INR6-9 quoted by sources.

India’s distribution companies that will have to buy the surplus power are likely to resist the regulations as they will face a loss of revenue and put more pressure on their already stretched resources, reports local media.

Solar appeal

Although the Indian state of Gujarat piloted India’s first net metering programme, Delhi is potentially the largest, offering the promise of kick-starting the widespread adoption of distributed solar in India’s most populous metrpolitan area.

A report published last year by Greenpeace India and consultancy Bridge to India estimates Delhi could generate 2GW of solar by 2020 by exploiting the roofs of residential, industrial, government and other buildings.