BlogNet Metering in Pakistan – How does it work?

December 8, 2021by Waleed0
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Net metering is a unique concept associated with solar system installation. It is a billing mechanism that helps to take into account the energy entering and leaving the house.  This is a bi-directional meter that can allow users to sell excess electricity to the grid. This bi-directional meter can be installed with hybrid or on-grid systems because they are connected to the grid.

The output from a solar panel system is unpredictable and varies with the availability of the sun. During the daytime when sunlight is brightest and strongest the output from a solar panel system is high while it will decrease during evenings and mornings. If the usage of energy is less during the daytime then there will be an excess power that is not being used. This energy can be transported to the grid through a net meter. The net meter helps to bring this excess electricity being delivered to the grid into account.

Net metering in Pakistan:

Pakistan has entered into the net metering world by issuing the net metering regulation in 2015, according to which DISCOs all across Pakistan are allowed to buy any excess electricity produced by solar energy consumers either in the form of units compensation or payment. The regulation states that any solar customer with a 3-phase connection and with a capacity no less than 1kW or no more than 1MW, (that also includes 3kw, 5kw and 10kw) who is connected to the national grid can get a net meter installed. This facility offers great financial advantages to solar energy consumers and makes it a good investment opportunity.

Net metering in Pakistan is a billing policy that allows consumers to generate their own electricity via renewable resources like solar and then sell it to the national grid. The units of energy sold to the grid can be consumed during the times when the solar panel system is not producing sufficient energy and you will not have to pay any extra bill for that energy use.

The compensation of the units can be done either by paying against the units received by the grid or by reducing the consumer bill. Usually, the latter option is feasible because it does not require any extra work. However, the compensation method depends on the relevant DISCO and the contract signed between the consumer and the DISCO.

To enjoy net metering in Pakistan you need to have a net meter compatible solar panel system like a hybrid or on-grid system so that you can connect the net meter in your house. Then you need to apply for an application to get the net meter installed and gain a license for selling electricity. After the approval process then only the net meter can be installed and activated for use by the consumer.

Benefits of net metering in Pakistan:

 

net metering

Installing a solar panel system brings lots of benefits for its consumers; net metering is one of the greatest benefits. Solar energy helps the consumer to enjoy free electricity after the payback period is over and net metering makes it even better by helping consumers to sell excess electricity and earn from it. Some benefits of net metering in Pakistan include:

Reasonable cost:

Net metering has long term benefits and considering the benefits you can get from net metering, the installation cost is reasonable for both commercial and residential users. If you are looking forward to installing a solar panel system at your location, then make sure it is net meter compliant to enjoy the benefits.

Extra earnings:

Who does not enjoy earning money and when earning money become this easy, who would want to avoid it! Net metering is a billing mechanism that helps you earn money by taking in account any surplus energy produced by the solar panel system.

Enjoy reduced bill:

Net metering allows the consumer to enjoy reduced bills. The net bill that you will receive will be the difference in the amount of energy consumed to the amount of energy delivered. This way you only have to pay a small amount of the energy that you consume from the grid.

Best utilization of surplus energy:

A solar panel system will usually produce more output than is required during the day because of ample sunlight. The extra electricity can go to waste if not taken into account. A net meter helps to consume this surplus energy and brings it to the best use. A solar panel system can produce about 20-40% of excess electricity. Net metering can help consumers sell this excess energy and earn great benefits.

How to apply and install a net meter in Pakistan?

net metering
Source: sunkalp.com

Install a net meter compliant solar system: you need to have a solar panel system that can support a net meter. Hybrid and on-grid  solar systems are net meter compatible as they are connected to the grid. A connection to the grid is a must if you want to install a net meter. To become eligible for a net meter you need to have a

  • 3-Phase connection,
  • Connection to the grid, and
  • Solar energy capacity greater than 1kW and less than 1MW

Application for net meter:

After you have a net meter compliant system installed, you can apply for the net meter application to your relevant DISCO. You need to submit all necessary documents along with the application so that the relevant DISCO can start processing your application.

Application acknowledgement:

As soon as the application is received, the concerned DISCO will start processing the application and will inform the applicant within five working days. An acknowledgement letter will be issued to the applicant if the application is complete so that the work can further proceed.

In case if the application is not complete or any necessary document is missing, the DISCO will issue the relevant notice and the applicant is bound to take necessary action within seven days of the notification. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide complete and accurate information and documents to the DISCO timely.

Review and Verification:

Within twenty days of the acknowledgement letter issued from the DISCO, the officials will conduct a visit to review all demands and requirements and assess all other details. This review is a mandatory part of the application process. If all demands are being met and the applicant is qualifying for the net meter application, the DISCO will proceed the process towards agreement. If the DISCO finds the applicant ineligible for the application, the officials will inform the applicant within three working days and his application will be rejected.

Agreement and License Issuance:

Once all the review and paperwork is done and accepted, the DISCO will sign an agreement with the applicant within ten working days. The signed agreement will then be proceeded to NEPRA along with an application to issue a generation license. This work is done within seven working days from the day of signing the agreement.

Net meter activation: after NEPRA issues the generation license to the applicant, the net meter at the applicant’s location can then be activated and the applicant can enjoy all the perks of net metering.

Cost of Net Meter installation in Pakistan

net metering
Source: nystatesolar.com/

The cost of net meter application and installation mainly depends on the size and type of the project. For residential projects, the cost is lower, but for commercial projects, the cost is higher because of the bigger project size. The DISCO can also ask for extra charges that may be needed to modify or upgrade the network. After the application process, the DISCO will issue a connection charge estimate that will ask the applicant to deposit the necessary money that will be incurred in the installation process.

Conclusion:

Net meter is a mechanism of gaining additional benefits from the solar panel system. It helps you to save on bills and even earn money by selling excess electricity to the national grid. All solar consumers in Pakistan who have a 3-phase connection, are connected to the grid and have specified generation capacity by NEPRA can get a net meter installed at their location.

 

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