Solar Net Metering is an advanced system of electricity generation by solar panels and then exporting the surplus to the national grids. Pakistan has a high potential to produce electricity by solar power due to having a comparatively hot and dry climate. However, till now, less than 2% of energy is produced this way and around 70% through burning of fossil fuels.
Therefore, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) issued the rules and regulations for the Solar Net Metering in Pakistan in September 2015. As per the guidelines, DISCO can buy extra electricity units produced by energy consumers using net energy metering and deduct them from the total units consumed from the grid.
Let’s dive deep to learn how the system works and what are its potential benefits in Pakistan!
What is Net Metering Pakistan?
The solar net metering system has been a well-known technique for years all over the world; however, in Pakistan, it is comparatively a new concept. Thanks to the abundant availability of sunlight and comparatively hot climate in Pakistan, solar panels can produce enough electricity for your needs as well as supply to the national grids. However, without a compatible net metering compatible solar system, the excess energy will be useless. Therefore, by installing a well-suited net meter, you can also sell extra electricity units to your nearest power grid.
How Does Solar Net Metering Work?
Your solar energy net meter works in the following sequence:
- The solar panels produce electricity from the sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC).
- The inverter converts Direct Current into Alternating Current (AC), which is used to meet your electricity demands.
- Additional energy is sent to the national grids for distribution.
- A smart meter tracks the receiving and transmission of electricity through the grid.
With solar net metering, the extra electricity produced by your solar panels is reimbursed. Besides that, when your solar panels aren’t producing enough electricity in cloudy weather, the utility grid will supply energy to your home and deduct it from the credits you’ve built up over time.
At the month’s end, your electricity bill will be calculated based on how many units your solar system has sent to the grid and what your system received from the grid; hence given the name ‘net metering’.
How to Apply for Solar Net Metering in Pakistan? Step-by-Step Process
Application Procedure, Processing, and Acknowledgement
Every electricity consumer in Pakistan who fulfils the requirements and rules of NEPRA can apply for a net metering facility. To send an application form to DISCO, follow the below-mentioned steps:
- Send the application along with the required documents to the DISCO office, where the staff will check and acknowledge your application for processing.
- In case of the incomplete application form or missing documents, DISCO staff will ask you to meet the terms within 7 working days.
- After completing the documentation process, DISCO will review it and conduct a preliminary review to check whether you are eligible for interconnection demands.
- This preliminary review will take around 20 working days to finalize the application.
- If your application doesn’t meet the NEPRA rules, it will be refused by DISCO, and you will be informed about the potential reason.
Agreement and License Generation
After the approval of the application, the next step is to sign the agreement between the applicant and DSICO within 10 working days. The duplicate copy of this agreement and application is sent to the NEPRA for the license.
After getting the license, if DISCO finds a need for network up-gradation or modification, it provides a Connection Charge Estimate (CCE) for the recommended interconnection amenity. However, if no modification is required, no CCE will be provided after the agreement.
Payment of Connection Charge Estimate
Within 20 days, the applicant will deposit the CCE payment in the DISCO-specified banks and inform the office in writing. After the payment and generation of the license by NEPRA, the installation process will be processed within 30 working days.
Documents Required To Attach with Net Metering Application Form
The applicant may need to attach the following documents with the energy metering application form:
- Copy of the latest paid electricity bill
- Attested copy of Computerized National Identity Card
- NOC by the power inspector
- Single Line Diagram to represent 3-phase connection
- Technical specifications of the inverter
NEPRA Net Metering Rates and Fee in Pakistan
The Distributed Generator pays a one-time fee through a pay order in favor of NEPRA. The following fee structure is applicable for a net metering system in Pakistan 2023:
|Serial number||Size of DG Amenity||Net Metering fee|
The rates of the solar net metering depends on multiple factors such as the installation system’s size and the type of customer use, i.e., residential or commercial. Moreover, it also depends on the documentation and processing charges based on the project size. Usually, it takes around a minimum of 80,000PKR to 1,80,000PKR for a residential net meter with average usage.
NEPRA Rules for Net Metering
- The Distributed Generator intending to sell electricity to DISCO would get registered with the authority.
- The DG can’t use the interconnection facility of DISCO to sell electricity to anyone.
- The DISCO staff can review the design of the DG and interconnection facility and may suggest useful guidelines for changes.
- DISCO may disconnect or limit the operation of the DG facility from the Distribution System of DISCO at any time without providing a prior notice.
- A Distributed Generator should operate according to the Prudent Electrical Practices.
Eligibility to Set up Solar Net Metering in Pakistan
Any national grid user with a 3-phase connection can avail the solar net metering facility for the installation of small-scale renewable energy (between 1kW and 1MW). With the help of this, many residential and commercial connections can easily shift to renewable energy production and minimize their electricity bills.
Consequently, they can generate electricity by solar panels to meet their demands and supply surplus electricity to the national grids. This extra electricity is then consumed during low-consumption hours, thus making it more cost-efficient.
Benefits of Solar Net Metering
Net metering is a long-term solution for consistent and affordable power generation. It offers substantial advantages for consumers and national energy-producing companies such as:
- Your electricity consumption bills reduce to a minimum.
- Small businesses grow without bearing the cost of high energy.
- Solar power companies flourish and generate employment opportunities for young engineers.
- Installing more solar power for energy generation helps the country achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7, which intends to provide everyone with clean, reliable, and affordable energy.
- It helps the government to cut the running cost of hydropower dams and reduce the extreme wastage of fossil fuels.
- Limiting the process of fossil fuel burning for power production help minimize the risk of global warming.
- It helps Pakistan to fulfill The Paris Agreement demand under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Solar net metering is a highly efficient technology by which you can generate electricity for your needs, supply extra energy to the national grids, as well as minimize your bill amount. However, the government must reanalyze and restructure some of its policies to improve the system for new solar systems installation. Kindly contact us for more information or queries regarding application procedure or any other guidelines.