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rooftop solar scheme: PSUs to charge up government’s rooftop solar scheme


The government is set to enlist state-run power sector companies such as NTPC, NHPC, Power Grid Corporation and SJVN to support its efforts to push households to adopt the rooftop solar programme.

Guidelines to be announced soon would allow these public sector units to cover the installation cost for the solar systems and offer a rent for using the rooftop of houses having a low power demand to make the proposition attractive, people privy to the plan told ET. The companies could recover the investment by the sale of excess electricity after the consumption by the households.

“The companies will form subsidiaries to implement the rooftop project plan. Roof rent will help lower income houses to move to the rooftop solar projects,” a senior government official told ET.

The move comes after the ministry of new and renewable energy raised the central financial assistance for the rooftop solar programme.


REC to be nodal agency
For getting subsidy under existing regulations, residential consumers must install rooftop solar plants from one of the vendors registered by the distribution company of their locality.A wider choice and enhanced support could help bring more consumers, who already get subsidised electricity, into the ambit of rooftop solar, another official said.There will be designated companies for each state to implement the programme. A consumer could put in a request to join the programme by calling a phone number, a senior government official said.

The move is expected to significantly increase the number of installations as cost is a major hurdle for the residential sector, especially in houses with 1-3 kW load. Currently, a rooftop project costs a minimum of Rs 50,000 per kW to set up. The cost per kW reduces as capacity goes higher.

For the homes that have a connected load of 1 kW, the designated company may be allowed to install double the capacity for rooftop solar projects and recover the investment by the sale of surplus power.

Other state-owned companies including DVC, Energy Efficiency Services, North Eastern Electric Power Corporation and THDC are also likely to invest in the segment. REC Ltd will be the nodal agency for the deployment of the programme.

The government had launched rooftop solar programme Phase-II in March 2019 targeting 40 GW of rooftop solar capacity. It envisaged installation of 4,000 MW capacity in the residential sector by providing central financial assistance and incentives to distribution companies (discoms).

The programme has not been able to garner the expected response so far from the residential segment consumers mainly because of the cost and the implementation process, apart from other procedural issues for the installations. Discoms being at the end of the electricity supply chain, play a crucial role in the implementation of the projects.

High capital cost and limited awareness about the rooftop solar systems are leading barriers across states impacting consumers’ willingness to buy, according to a report by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water in November.

India has an installed rooftop solar capacity of 11 GW, of which only 2.7 GW is in the residential sector, as per the report.


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