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ALMM Compliance for Open Access & Rooftop Solar Projects to be Effective from October 2022

The MNRE had mandated that solar cell and module manufacturers register with the ALMM. Only ALMM-registered manufacturers could supply projects tendered by government agencies, primarily utility-scale projects and subsidized residential and government rooftop solar projects.

Shivam Dwivedi
Rooftop Solar Projects
Rooftop Solar Projects

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has amended the 'Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) of Solar Modules (requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2019,' deferring the compliance date for open access and net metering projects.

Beginning October 1, 2022, open access and net metering (rooftop solar) projects will be required to source modules from the vendors listed in the ALMM.

The amendment was originally scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2022. Most open access and rooftop solar developers will be relieved by the announcement, which will give them more time to complete their existing projects.

The MNRE had mandated that solar cell and module manufacturers register with the ALMM. Only ALMM-registered manufacturers could supply projects tendered by government agencies, primarily utility-scale projects and subsidized residential and government rooftop solar projects.

However, the MNRE later amended it to include all net metering and open access projects. This meant that consumers who wanted to go green had to source modules from the restricted ALMM list. There are currently no Chinese module suppliers listed on the ALMM.

For a variety of reasons, the industry was vehemently opposed to the restriction of sourcing only from the ALMM list. One of the most significant was that it limited consumers' ability to select modules with high power output and advanced technologies. Commercial and industrial (C&I) project developers typically use modules with power ratings of 400W or higher and higher generation efficiency because space is limited in such projects.

The ALMM list contains a small number of companies that offer higher watt modules, resulting in a lack of options for C&I solar projects. According to the developers, the availability of modules is a challenge because domestic supplies must meet the demand of larger projects with deadlines. Because of the demand-supply imbalance, the prices of modules have also spiked.

The Distributed Solar Power Association (DiSPA), an industry body of distributed solar project developers, has filed an appeal with the Delhi High Court. DiSPA has petitioned that the ALMM mandate has a negative impact on open access and net metering projects. It is recommended that MNRE postpone the implementation of the ALMM for the C&I solar projects by at least one year.

In response to the petition, the Delhi High Court has requested clarification from MNRE on the provisions put in place to protect C&I solar projects under construction that would be harmed by the ALMM Order.

(Source: MERCOM)

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