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Experts Says, Lack Of Clear-Cut Policies Slow Down Solar Rooftop Projects

A parliamentary panel, in a report in March, attributed low installation of solar rooftop and wind energy projects as key reasons for the shortfall in achieving India’s renewable energy capacity target by 2022.

Experts Says, Lack Of Clear-Cut Policies Slow Down Solar Rooftop Projects
Discoms feeling uncomfortable with increasing solar footprint, policies governing solar energy sector being unclear, and slow uptake of rooftop solar power systems

Bengaluru: Discoms feeling uncomfortable with increasing solar footprint, policies governing solar energy sector being unclear, and slow uptake of rooftop solar power systems — these are some of the issues holding back the growth of solar energy in the country. In a webinar organised by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Wednesday (May 31) to better understand net metering for consumers in India, which is considered crucial for increasing private investments in solar energy, experts discussed the various problems affecting the sector and the way forward. Explaining the concept of net metering while moderating the online discussion, Maitreyi Karthik, deputy programme manager of renewable energy at CSE, said it applies to consumers who have a grid connection with enough rooftop space and load available at a particular location.

One of the participants, bureaucrat Manu Srivastava pointed out that power consumers are currently facing a number of problems that has slowed down the growth of solar energy sector in India. Srivastava, principal secretary, technical education, skill development and employment department of Madhya Pradesh government said,

The biggest reason is the resistance shown by discoms. And the way to overcome this is moving away from net metering, which gives all the advantage to the consumers to net billing, which also takes into consideration the interests of discoms. In net billing, the rates are flexible and decided by discoms.

Also Read: India’s Non-Fossil Power Generation Capacity Touches 174 GW In 2022: Union Minister R K Singh

Jay C Shiv, programme director, renewable energy, CSE, said:

Installation of more than 53 gigawatt (GW) of ground-mounted solar PV has been achieved against the target of 60 GW; however, the progress for solar rooftop projects is only 9 GW against the target of 40 GW.

A parliamentary panel, in a report in March, attributed low installation of solar rooftop and wind energy projects as key reasons for the shortfall in achieving India’s renewable energy capacity target by 2022. However, renewable energy capacity of 120.90 GW has been installed in the country as of December 31, 2022 which is about 69 per cent of the overall target, the Standing Committee on Energy said in its report.

Meanwhile, Tirupur-based solar energy company Mangla Smart Energy Solutions CEO Vimal Kumar, another participant, said the government should look beyond capital subsidy. Mr. Kumar said,

I think there should be a stronger, technically sound policy for the entire country

Mr. Kumar also felt that the intentions should be well thought out when framing billing mechanisms.

For instance, in Tamil Nadu there is something called network charges, which is 1.48 paise for a unit generated. This is very high and this charge is also calculated on the expected units – which are mostly more than the actual ones shown on the inverter

Also Read: India’s First Fully Solar Village Lights Up The Lives Of Poor Residents 

He also flagged the lengthy and time-consuming process for approvals of larger capacity rooftop solar setups.

Mr. Sunit Mathur, general manager of Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited, agreed that solar energy sector lacks a level playing field. Despite it being clean, green, and sustainable, the solar sector does not have clear-cut policies to support its growth, he added.

Besides, Mr. Srivastava also chimed in saying that constant changes in policies confuse the consumers. “To give an example, in the net metering, initially the consumers were allowed 1 MW. This came down to 10 KW, which was nothing. Now, the 2020 amendment of the Electricity (Rights of Consumer) Rules, minimum is set at 500 KW, with states given the right to decide what is best for them. This can be very confusing to people,” he added.

Mr. Kumar summed up the webinar stating that before going for energy sustainability, the country needs to work on a sustainable policy first. The solar energy firm owner said,

And the government should do what it can to encourage people, as the return on investment in this sector can be achieved only in 10 to 12 years. For instance, there is a lot of talk on giving some kind of special privileges to people who have signed up for both electric vehicles and solar photovoltaics in Tamil Nadu. This can be a game changer here

Also Read: BMC Sets Up Solar Power Plant Atop Asia’s Largest Sewage Pumping Station | Environment (ndtv.com)

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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