January 30, 2021 1:38:05 am
Targeting generation of 38,000 MW of power through rooftop solar-powered (RTS) plants by the end of 2022, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has now tasked Maharashtra with setting up the highest number of new rooftop solar power plants in the residential sector under the centrally-sponsored Off Grid Rooftop Solar Programme.
According to information, Maharashtra has been allocated a capacity of setting up 500 MW of residential rooftop solar plants from a collective target of 1,667 MW assigned to 17 states and Union Territories under the central assistance scheme. Gujarat, which has been leading in solar power generation so far, has been allocated a target of augmenting residential rooftop solar plants by another 262 MW under the scheme, while Karnataka, another BJP-ruled state, has been allocated 300 MW.
Under the RTS programme to be implemented by public discoms, state governments have been asked to actively promote setting up of solar-powered plants on the rooftop of residential and commercial buildings. Under the Centre’s scheme, a housing society or an independent bungalow/house owner, installing such plants, are eligible to receive 20-40 per cent of central financial assistance (CFA) on the cost of setting it up. The solar power, so generated, can either be used for captive consumption of the premises or can be fed into the grid and adjusted in the electricity bill. All premises with valid and live electricity connections can avail the scheme. Typically, a 1 Kilo Watt RTS plant required about 10 square meter area.
Committing to increase the share of electricity from non-fossil fuel categories to 40 per cent of total capacity by 2030, the central government has launched a program to promote solar power plants across the country. In the first phase, which was launched in 2015, the government had targeted off-grid small solar power plants. But in March 2019, it supplemented this with a program to incentive grid connected rooftop solar plants. The Centre has set a target of achieving 38,000 MW of RTS plants by December 31, 2022. Of this 4,000 MW, roughly 11 per cent, will be in the residential segment.
Following the ministry’s allocation, the state-run Maharashtra Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) will soon invite expression of interests from eligible companies interested in the installation, maintenance and repair of RTS plants. Sources said that an individual owner or a housing society will have the option to select one of the empanelled contractors, and pay only the amount remaining after deduction of the due central assistance.
Across India, the Centre has directed states to implement the incentive scheme through state-run discoms to avoid multiplicity of agencies, and make it easier for the consumers to access the benefit. Besides the obvious savings on the consumption side, RTS plants help in reducing transmission and distribution losses, and regulation of day time peak load.3
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