Due to the poor performance of the rooftop solar (RTS) programme in the residential sector, the government announced on Friday that individual households may now choose their own vendor and have the subsidy amount for purchasing the equipment credited directly into their bank accounts.
On Wednesday, during a review meeting on the RTS program’s performance in residential areas, Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh directed officials to simplify the scheme in order to increase its implementation, as only about one-third of the allocated capacity has been installed so far. India’s rooftop solar potential is significant, at 1.7 petawatt-hours per year.
According to MNRE, it is no longer essential for a home to have the RTS installed by any of the state Discom’s listed vendors. Households may also install the equipment themselves and notify the Discom, along with a photograph of the system. After that, the discom must ensure that net metering is available within 15 days. “Within 30 days after installation, the Discom will credit the householder’s account with a 40% subsidy for RTS of up to 3 kilowatt (KW) capacity and a 20% subsidy for RTS of up to 10 KW capacity. The option of having the rooftop installed by any of the DISCOM-approved providers remains the same as before. The homeowner may also choose the solar panel and inverter of his choice in such instances, “it said.
According to industry and experts, simplifying methods would help overcome significant obstacles such as high solar equipment costs and a convoluted subsidy scheme, as well as achieve India’s aggressive climate change and greenhouse gas emission reduction objectives. It will also help to open up the market and boost demand. The performance and coordination of the state discoms, on the other hand, would be crucial. One of the problems that have hampered the expansion of the RTS industry has been the relative delay in adopting net metering by Discoms, as well as the prompt adjustment of payouts to rooftop plant owners,” said Sabyasachi Majumdar, Senior Vice President and Group Head at ICRA. The government’s measures will address both restrictions and incentives for RTS investment. The key, however, will be rapid implementation at the Discom level.” Subrahmanyam Pulipaka, CEO of industry body National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI), told that the group would shortly provide a roadmap to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for reaching the objective of 100 GW residential RTS. “Our solar energy journey as a nation has been mostly led by the government to create demand, but we are now at a crossroads where demand is transitioning from government-driven to market-driven.” The news made today will bring us one step closer to that transformation. The market opens up the instant a customer has the choice to select. Quality, credibility, and expansion will be the driving forces behind the initiative. In the residential RTS market, we predict a strong adoption,” he said. “In a week or two, NSEFI will submit to the government a road plan for creating a goal of 100 GW of residential RFT solar in India. First, we will suggest policy initiatives and ecosystem-enabling measures that will help us meet our goal. Second, we will undertake annual awareness campaigns in ten states. We will meet with Discoms, RWAs, and end-users. Every year, we will have 100 sessions for these awareness efforts, “Pulipaka said.
In a report on MNRE’s funding requests for FY21, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy said that RTS is not appealing to customers because of high maintenance costs and cumbersome subsidy payout processes. In March 2021, the report was presented to Parliament. The panel recommended that the Ministry concentrate on this initiative as a mission. Solar panels are currently available for ₹38,000–50,000 for 1–10 kw (kilowatt) and ₹32,000–52,000 for 11–100 kw, depending on the state.
India has pledged to increase the percentage of non-fossil fuels in installed power capacity to 40% by 2030 under the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which was increased to 50% at COP 26. The government has also established a goal of 100 GW of solar electricity capacity by 2022, with 40 GW coming from RTS and 4,000 MW coming from residential RTS. Phase 1 of the RTS initiative was authorised in December 2015, with the goal of adding 2,100 MW of capacity by FY20 with central financial assistance (CFA). Against this, a total capacity of 2,098 MW was sanctioned as of December 5, 2021, with 1,319 MW stated to have been reached.
In March 2019, phase two of the RTS programme was initiated, consisting of two components. Component A of the ministry’s goal is to build 4,000 MW of capacity in the residential sector using CFA, while component B intends to incentivize discoms depending on the completion of an initial 18,000 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar plants. As of December 5, several DISCOMs have been sanctioned for about 3,339 MW of capacity, with roughly 1,070 MW of capacity building. In all, over 5,570 MW of RTS capacity has been built in the nation, with the Ministry allocating roughly 3,147 crores in CFA.
Source: The Hindu