A net metering mechanism predominantly compensates the net generation with the consumption. So ideally the discom purchases power at the same rate at which it sells it. The economics of this arrangement will not work in the long run, especially for large solar systems.
In a gross metering system, all the energy generated from the solar system is fed into the grid and the consumer is compensated at a predetermined tariff, also know as the feed in tariff . The consumer pays for the power imports from the grid at the standard retail supply tariffs . Thus in a gross metering system the total energy exports are metered separately from the energy imports. As a result the imports are not directly compensated against the exports.
Gross Metering vs. Net Metering
Gross Metering is often confused with net-metering, but both are very different concepts.
Which is better Gross Metering or Net Metering?
Generally, there are regulations for availing benefits of net and gross metering mechanisms depending on size of plants.An economical analyses makes net-metering a better proposition for the consumers. However under the net-metering arrangement, the Discoms end up paying a higher rate for procuring power, than the market rates. So from the prespective of the Discoms, gross metering offers a fairer deal, providing a plausible solution to both the consumers and the Discoms.
The economics of the net and gross metering can be understood from the example discussed below:
Where and when is Gross metering useful?
The net metering policy compels the Discom to purchase power at almost the retail tariff rates. As a result most state policy, allows net metering only in LT systems. So for the HT systems only gross metering as a metering mechanism can be used. Gross metering makes sense when a property owner wants to make use of idle space for generation of electricity, not necessarily for self consumption. Thus the energy generated can be fed into the grid for financial benefits.
So uptill now, we have tried to elucidate concepts relating to metering practices in solar systems, their types and uses. In the upcoming blog we will try to shed light on the government policies in India.
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