Power Minister Highlights Steps Taken to Push 4000 MW Rooftop By 2022

Highlights :

  • A short period of time (2022) to achieve 4000 MWis a good idea.
  • Rooftop Solar has never quite lived up to its promise, mainly due to systemic apathy. That is a pity, considering its higher potential for job creation..

Responding to a query in the Rajya Sabha, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing Rooftop Solar Programme Phase II wherein grid connected RTS capacity aggregating 4000 MW by 2022 is targeted for installation in residential sector with provision of subsidy. For individual households, subsidy upto 40% of the benchmark cost is provided for RTS plants upto 3 kW capacity and 20% for RTS plants of capacity beyond 3 kW and up to 10 kW. For Group Housing Societies/Residential Welfare Associations (GHS/RWA), the subsidy is limited to 20% of the benchmark cost for RTS plants of capacity up to 500 kW used for supply of power to common facilities. While these terms remain the same as earlier, a few additional steps have been taken to expedite approvals and ensure quality, as listed below:

  • Launch of phase II of rooftop solar programme under with Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for residential sector and incentives in slabs for the Power Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) for achievement of additional capacity over and above the installed capacity of the previous year.
  • Earlier under Phase-I of the programme, CFA assistance for residential/ institutional/social sectors and achievement linked incentives for Government sectors was provided
  • Assistance to states in development/ integration of online portal and aggregation of demands relating to rooftop solar projects.
  • Preparing of model MoU, PPA and Capex Agreement for expeditious implementation of RTS projects in Government Sector. Ministry-wise expert PSUs were identified for handholding and providing support for implementation of RTS projects in various Ministries/ Departments under erstwhile phase I of the programme.
  •  Advising States to notify the net/gross metering regulations for RTS projects. At present, all 36 States/UTs/SERCs have notified such regulations and/or tariff orders.
  •  SPIN-an online platform developed for expediting project approval, report submission and monitoring progress of implementation of RTS projects.
  •  Facilitation of concessional loans from World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) through SBI and PNB respectively, for disbursal of loans to industrial and  commercial sectors, where CFA/incentive is not being provided by the Ministry.
  • Renewable energy included under priority sector lending
  • Quality standards for deployment of solar photovoltaic system/ devises notified.
  • Innovative Business models for rooftop solar shared with the States
  • Information and public awareness activities through print and electronic media.

There was no mention of the SARAL index, that was launched with much fanfare to track the relative attractiveness of each state on solar rooftop support. Currently, there is no sign of any updates on the index on any of the power min sites.

It must be added here that despite every effort, solar rooftop has faced an uphill climb in India so far. This is not for want of demand, or attractive offers. Demand remains high, and interest even higher. What has been a dampener is the approach of state discoms, who have done everything possible to discourage adoption. From a minimum of 6 months in a state like Delhi, to late disbursal of incentives in Punjab, to  a bewildering array of paperwork in many states, potential consumers have faced it all. A single national portal to provide information and support, promised for long, is still missing.

We should know, as we at SaurEnergy get almost 2 queries a day from people interested in installing solar rooftop systems. Follow up calls with many of these have shown us that the issues run deep, and are systemic.  Actual conversion rates are under 10 percent on these serious queries, we have observed.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International

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