Open Access allows consumers an option to use the existing grid to select the power generator of their choice. Consumers who have a demand of greater than 1 MW (or as determined by individual state policies) are eligible for Open Access. The advantage to consumers under this scheme is that the power plant need not be co-located with their premises, thus eliminating the constraints on availability of land/ roof space.
Power may be purchased through the two power exchanges (i.e. traded online on the day-ahead or term-ahead market) or through bilateral transactions.
Bilateral transactions are facilitated through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) between the consumer and the power generator at a mutually agreed tariff for a predetermined number of years.
Group Captive Power
Consumers entering into PPAs may also opt for captive power. In this model, a single consumer or group of consumers may either independently develop or engage with a third party to build a power plant by investing a minimum of 26% equity in the plant. Additionally, the customer(s) must consume at least 51% of the power produced by the plant. Such consumers will be exempt from paying the cross-subsidy surcharge.
Rooftop solar may either be self-financed by the consumer or leased by the developer. The rooftop solar system may be connected to the electrical load of the facility. A bi-directional meter will record the import grid electricity and export of solar energy into the grid. This net metering allows for credit to the consumer for energy exported to the grid while at the same time reducing the electrical energy consumed from the grid. The net metering policy is determined by each state regulator.