India to boost rooftop solar installs under USD-3.7bn programme

Rooftop solar system. Author: Martin Abegglen. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

January 4 (Renewables Now) - The Indian government in December presented a plan that seeks to make local power distribution companies (discoms) the key drivers of its rooftop solar programme.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is proposing to integrate discoms as the implementing agency in Phase-II of its ongoing rooftop solar scheme in order to address certain issues that have been slowing progress down. The ministry says in a concept note that even though it had sanctioned central financial assistance (CFA) for 2,636 MWp to different implementation agencies, so far only 225 MWp of rooftop solar systems have been commissioned in the subsidised sector. It gave a number of reasons for the slow progress, including the considerable delay in tendering, the involvement of multiple stakeholders and the reluctance of discoms due to revenue loss.

Under the new concept, discoms will no longer be indirect participants, but instead will have direct contact with the end user, providing approval for installation and managing the distribution network. This would make it easier for customers to go solar as they would not need to approach multiple agencies to get the job done, the ministry says.

The MNRE intends to provide discoms with performance-based financial support to step up deployment of rooftop solar arrays within their distribution area. It is also proposing that CFA is provided only for installations up to 5 kWp in residential sectors.

Discoms will be incentivised for the installation of grid-connected rooftop solar systems for incremental capacity in their jurisdictional area. The CFA subsidy towards to the residential sector is capped at INR 90 billion (USD 1.42bn/EUR 1.17bn) for 5 GW, or INR 18,000 per kW calculated at a benchmark cost of INR 60,000 per kW. The total incentive to discoms for social, institutional, government, commercial and industrial rooftop solar projects is INR 144.5 billion for 35 GW, or 5,500 per kW calculated at a benchmark cost of INR 55,000 per kW.

The concept note is available at https://2rjrmf33rccw3lrxgi3x82yy-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/comments-on_RTS.pdf.

(INR 10 = USD 0.158/EUR 0.130)

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