For the first time, the Russian government allows citizens to generate and consume electricity with their own power generation facilities

For the first time, the Russian government allows citizens to generate and consume electricity with their own power generation facilities

At the end of December 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed law Microgeneration № 471, based on which citizens and companies are allowed to build and operate their own generation facilities of up to 15 kW capacity instead of purchasing electricity from the local utility.

What is allowed is defined by law with the following principles:

•       A microgeneration plant for electricity generation can be operated using any energy sources (diesel, gasoline, biomass, coal, peat, solar energy, wind energy, etc.) by Russian citizens or by legal entities (companies, public carriers).

•       However, the installed power of the microgeneration plant must not exceed a maximum power capacity of 15 kWp.

•       The microgeneration plant must be owned by the user and it should be aimed at meeting the user's own electricity needs (household, business, etc.).

•       Excess electricity generated may be fed into the local power grid for a fee. Local power grid operators are required to enter into appropriate power purchase and sale agreements with the owners and users of the microgeneration plants and to accept the electricity from these plants into their power grids.

•       In the case of residential buildings, the installations can be erected in single-family houses but not in multi-family houses.

Even though the law has already been passed it does not yet have any practical effect because there are still two regulations missing that are needed for the actual implementation of the law: Firstly, there are still no official technical rules for connecting these new microgeneration plants to the local power grid. Secondly, the standardized procedures for recording the quantities of electricity fed into the grid by the local grid operator are also still missing. Both regulations are to be defined and adopted by July 2020 via a separate decree of the Russian Ministry of Energy, so that the microgeneration plants can then be built and operated.

This law makes it possible for the first time in Russia to install smaller decentralized solar systems with grid connection. This will be a breakthrough in the development of solar energy in Russia. Because, as in many other countries, Russian households and private homeowners will now be able to generate some or even all of their own electricity needs with green technologies and consume it themselves. With 15 kW capacity, one can cover the entire annual electricity demand in private households, small businesses, or, for example, a small kindergarten. This is called "balance coverage" of the electricity demand. Since the solar system cannot always supply electricity, because the sun does not always shine, the excess electricity generated during the day and fed into the local grid creates a positive balance (electricity surplus), which is balanced again from evening to morning when electricity continues to be drawn from the grid.