Russian Duma approves net metering for solar up to 15 kW

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Russia’s State Duma – the lower house of parliament – has unanimously adopted a draft law developed by the Ministry of Energy for the introduction of net metering for solar and other renewable energy generators with systems up to 15 kW in capacity.

The ministry said in an official statement the new provisions regulate the installation of small power systems based on clean energy for the first time, and will provide the owners of micro-installations with the opportunity to sell surplus electricity on retail markets.

Anton Usachev, president of the Russian Solar Energy Association, told pv magazine: “The Duma approved a draft law in first reading … once it is approved in third reading the Ministry of Energy should work out and approve necessary changes in the federal energy law.” Final approval of the new provisions is expected to come by the end of the year, he added.

“When implemented, the scheme is expected to strongly boost [the] solar retail market in Russia in spite of the fact that the tariff for surplus electricity will be equal to the current power wholesale market prices, around RUB1 [$0.015],” Usachev said. “[The] incentive itself will be based on set-off, or bilateral, clearing, which before was not possible.”

Multi-family buildings not covered

Deputy minister of energy, Anastasia Bondarenko, said the new rules are in line with a plan launched in May by the Russian government to improve the reliability of the power network and reduce electricity consumption costs while also enabling peak-load shifting.

Bondarenko also specified the new provisions do not include the possibility of installing microgeneration systems in multi-family residential buildings.

The plan to launch net metering in Russia dates back to early 2017.

The nation has so far implemented mainly large-scale PV projects through renewable energy auctions, or off-grid projects in its remote regions. According to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2017, Russia has the potential to double its 2030 solar target to 5 GW.

According to provisional figures provided to pv magazine by Usachev, Russia had a cumulative installed PV capacity of 460 MW at the end of last yer, of which 260 MW deployed in 2018 alone. However, that appears to exclude 400 MW of capacity accounted for by several PV plants in Crimea which were seized after the region was annexed to Russia in 2014.

Of the total installed solar power, only 15 MW come from residential PV installatons, Usachev also said.