Power Min Simplifies Rooftop Solar Scheme to Enhance Consumer Access

Highlights :

The revised guidelines are as follows:

  • Households may install the rooftop solar system by themselves or get it done by any vendor of their choice
  • DISCOMs to ensure netmetering is provided within 15 days
  • Subsidy to be credited in householder’s account within 30 days of installation
  • Householder can select solar panels & inverter of his choice
Power Min Simplifies Rooftop Solar Scheme to Enhance Consumer Access

Union Power Minister R K Singh has reviewed the progress of the ‘Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Programme’ and given directions for its simplification to enhance consumers’ accessibility to it, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said in a recent press release.

Following the review done on January 19, 2022, the Minister has directed that henceforth, it will not be necessary for households to get roof top solar systems installed by only the listed vendors. The households may also install the roof top systems by themselves or get them installed by any vendor of their choice, and inform the distribution company about the installation, along with a photograph of the system which has been installed.

The intimation to the DISCOM regarding the installation can be given either in material form through a letter/application or on the designated website which has been set up by every DISCOM and by the Govt. of India for the Rooftop Solar Scheme.

The distribution company will ensure that net-metering is provided within 15 days of the information’s receipt. The subsidy to be given by the Centre, which is 40% for roof top of upto 3 KW capacity and 20% beyond that upto 10 KW, will be credited to the account of the householder by the DISCOM within 30 days of the installation, said MNRE.

In order to ensure that the quality of the solar panel and the inverter is according to the prescribed standard; the government will publish from time to time the lists of solar panel manufacturers and inverter manufacturers whose products meet the expected quality standards and the price lists thereof; and the householder can select the solar panels and inverter of their choice, stated the ministry.

The option of getting the rooftop solar system installed by any of the vendors designated by the DISCOM remains available as earlier. In such cases also, the householder may select the solar panel and inverter of his choice.

The move, while seemingly positive, could face many obstacles in the ground, starting with the discoms as always. Be it norms for installation and plant safety, or inspections before activation or allowing grid connectivity, and finally the installation of bi-directional meters itself, discoms have usually used each of these as reasons to delay installs so far. That is the main reason why residential rooftop solar has progressed so poorly. However, the MNRE moves do show that the ministry is aware of the need to do more,  and that is always welcome.

Clearly, the centre is sending a signal out that it is trying to do its best when it comes to what is in its own control. Namely the payment of subsidies. The move seems to be an attempt to make the whole vendor empanelment process redundant, and with good reason. But we really doubt that it will play out as simply as that.

Thus, the orders, while seemingly immense in their scope and potential impact, are likely to lead to little change on the ground actually, except perhaps in a few pockets where discom interests are aligned with growing rooftop solar.

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