MNRE Focus On Residential Rooftop, As National Portal for Subsidy, Net Metering In the Making

Highlights :

  • As a declaration of intent, the move by MNRE is right up there in being customer focused and user friendly.
  • However, the challenge will lie in details, and execution on the ground by discoms, many of whom are simply unprepared to act as fast as the MNRE envisages.
MNRE Focus On Residential Rooftop, As National Portal for Subsidy, Net Metering In the Making

The Ministry and New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) under Power Minister R.K. Singh finally seems to be paying heed to the crying need for attention from the rooftop solar sector.

To give some speed to the reeling rooftop solar segment MNRE has issued a simplified procedure for residential consumers to get the rooftop solar plant installed by themselves or through any vendor of their choice under the Rooftop Solar Programme.

A much anticipated, and delayed, single point national portal will be developed for the household beneficiaries to register their applications for subsidy. There will be a portal in the similar format at the level of the DISCOMs and both the portals will be linked. The beneficiary will be required to submit necessary information including details of the bank account where the subsidy amount will be transferred. At the time of application, the beneficiary will also be informed about the complete process and subsidy amount that can be availed for installation of the rooftop plant.

The application will then be forwarded online to the concerned DISCOM for issuance of technical feasibility approval within 15 days.
The procedure says that after obtaining technical feasibility, the beneficiary may install the rooftop solar plant from any vendor of his choice by selecting solar modules fulfilling the conditions of DCR and enlistment under ALMM and inverters which are certified by J3IS. The list of empaneled vendors will be provided on the portal. In order to ensure quality and post installation services, the ministry will issue standards and specifications for rooftop solar plants and a format of agreement to be executed between beneficiary and the vendor.

The agreement among other terms and conditions will have the provision to ensure that the rooftop solar plant installed meets safety and performance standards and that the vendor would maintain the plant for next 5 years or higher period as per terms of the agreement.
The beneficiary has to install its plant within a specified period otherwise his application will be cancelled and he has to re-apply for installation of rooftop solar plant plant.

Upon installation of the rooftop solar plant, the beneficiary will apply for net-metering on the national portal, which will be forwarded online to the concerned DISCOM. The concerned DISCOM will either procure or install the net-meter or it will advise the beneficiary to procure the net-meter as per prescribed specifications and get it tested from the DISCOM authorized lab. The decision of the DISCOM will be posted on the portal.

After installation of the net meter, the DISCOM officer will submit a commissioning and inspection report on the national portal, which will also be reflected on the DISCOM portal. On receiving the inspection report, the subsidy will be released directly in the bank account of the beneficiary by the DISCOM.

The whole process will be monitored and a grievance redressal mechanism will be put in place. It is expected that the national portal will be developed in about six to eight weeks. Till the national portal comes into operation, the existing procedure for availing subsidy for installation of rooftop solar plant through DISCOMs will continue and will be the only authorized procedure to avail subsidy from MNRE. After the National portal is set up, the beneficiary will have the choice of installing RTS availing either of the options.

The government has also advised the consumers not to fall to misleading information and be duped by entities that have ulterior motives.
The MNRE move seems to have taken a leaf out of the Gujarat handbook for successful solar rooftop evangelism. Or perhaps Gujarat was the only state to take on board MNRE advice till date. Either way, the new announcement, which follows  the declaration of intent just last week, is a welcome boost to both solar rooftop, and domestic manufacturers in India.

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