Net Metering Energy Program Launched in Lebanon
Selling electricity to the national grid is now possible
Thursday, December 22, 2011

REVOLUTIONARY RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAMS

The Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW), launched 'Net Metering', an electricity scheme for consumers who own renewable energy production facilities, such as wind or solar power generating cells. Under the program, users of renewable power generators sign a contract with the Electricité du Liban (EDL) which allows them to receive discounts on their electricity bills according to the amount of energy they produce.

PROGRAM SPECIFICS

According to Pierre Khoury, the director of the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC), the new program allows the export of the electricity produced through renewable power generators to the grid in order to save the electricity output as 'energy credit'. A digital reader is installed at the entities that use renewable energy resources. The device measures the energy exported to the grid, and that imported from it (per KWH). At the end of each billing period (two months), the net output is calculated by subtracting the exported energy from the imported energy. The electricity bill of the entity under this program will cover be counted only for the difference between the two numbers. “For example if, at the end of the two months, the digital reader counts 1000kwh imported from the grid and 800kwh exported to the grid, the owner of this unit would be charged for 200kwh only," Khoury said. If the energy exported to the grid was larger than that imported from it, the excess would be saved as energy credit. Khoury said that the energy credit can be rolled over a 12 month-period. At the end of each year, he said, the count is reset to zero. Khoury said that according to the contract, any energy credit remaining in the grid at the end of December of each year will be credited to the EDL without return to the exporter. Net metering applies to any renewable energy producers. According to Khoury, the application is ideal for use by entities which have seasonal operations, such as schools and hotels in mountain areas. "Schools, for instance, typically use a lot more electricity during the school season. They could make up for the difference during summer," he said. According to MoEW, net metering is a low-cost and easily administered method of promoting direct customer investment and involvement in renewable energy. The General Director of the EDL, Kamal Hayek, said that the company is ready to accept applications. EDL also announced that subscribers to the net metering would be exempted from regular electricity subscription fees if their output of renewable energy was at least equal to 75 percent of their energy consumption.

SELLING ELECTRICITY TO EDL

MoEW said that 'Net Metering' will be followed by 'Feed In', another program that would allow participants to sell EDL purchases of excess energy produced by subscribers.

IRST AGREEMENT SIGNED

The first agreement of such kind was signed on Thursday, December 22, 2011 between EDL and Johnny Mecattaf, under the auspices of Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil, who revealed that the move "is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa," adding that Lebanon is the first country to apply the Net Metering in the region, which connects the national electricity grid to the network of the consumer.

Bassil considered that "this project, if circulated, can provide additional power up to 50-100 Mega Watts in the next 5 years, which is a big number" explaining that "to gain access to it, I call upon all citizens, homeowners, particularly those in the mountainous areas, factories, hospitals, schools and businesses to adopt solar energy systems due to funding facilities available. This provides the cost of the generator and the electricity bill"

He stressed that "starting tomorrow, every citizen can generate renewable energy through registration to the network the Lebanese without costs," pointing out that "all the facilities have been secured in order to ensure that today's event would be a model for future projects of Lebanon's Electricity and the power counter becomes available in every home."

In this context, the Director of the 'Country Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Demonstration Project for the Recovery of Lebanon' (CEDRO) Hassan Harajli, said it was possible to achieve a 'Wind Atlas' in Lebanon, which determines wind speed and direction in various areas, as well as in the sea within the exclusive economic zone of Lebanon, and in the water for a depth of not more than 30 meters.

Harajli explained the mechanism of the Net Metering, saying that the house that has solar power generating system, consumes electricity by renewable energy first, then sells the excess power directly into the Lebanese network. According to last year's the calculations, the net metering procedure can reset the account, if it gives the EDL network more than it takes from it.

Harajli revealed that "we have more than 61 Photovoltaic sites that rely on renewable energy to generate electricity, and after this agreement, these sites will be plugged into the public network,"

The owner of the house, Johnny Mecattaf, explained the benefit of such a project: "Ever since the installation of this generator in the 2009, it has been producing an annual energy quantity of 33 megawatts per hour, and provided the environment 45 tons of carbon per year". According to financial calculations, the cost of the generator will be paid in full through what is produced in a period between 10 and 12 years depending on the price of diesel. Afterwards, the power generated becomes free of charge, noting that the life of the generator is between 20 to 25 years.”

Hayek:

EDL's General Director Kamal Hayek announced that the EDL is ready to receive requests for the contract. All legal and administrative and technical procedures have been put in place, which is part of an approved electricity policy paper. Hayek pointed out that all the information and conditions on this site are on EDL www.edl.gov.lb.

The project will be followed up with a FEED IN project, which allows the EDL to buy surplus power from customer using NET Metering.