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MNRE inviting comments/ views are on implementing Grid Connected Rooftop Solar

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is implementing Grid Connected Rooftop Solar (RTS) Power Programme. In order to accelerate the deployment of rooftop solar power in the country, Ministry has prepared a concept note to bring DISCOMs to the forefront in implementation of RTS by providing them financial support which will be linked to their performance in facilitating the deployment of RTS.

In this regard, MNRE is seeking comments/views from stakeholders on the said concept note. The Feedback/Views/Comments on the said concept note can be sent to Manish Singh Bisht, Scientist-B, MNRE, at manish.mnre@gov.in latest by 31st December, 2017.

It is understood that a policy shift is required for expeditious implementation of rooftop solar program and this can only be achieved by reducing complexity of the implementing mechanism. Accordingly, it is proposed to bring DisComs to the forefront in RTS implementation by providing them performance based financial support to accelerate deployment of RTS plants within their distribution area and to make DisComs the sole implementing agency for implementation of rooftop solar scheme of MNRE in next Phase. It is proposed that CFA will be provided only for installation of RTS plants in residential sectors. The residential users may install the RTS plant of capacity as per their requirement and the respective SERC regulation, however, the CFA will be limited up to 5 kWp capacity of RTS plant.

Subsidy requirement for residential sector: It is essential to retain capital subsidy for the residential beneficiaries as adoption of solar for this category does not appear to be lucrative and thus is not an obvious choice. The beneficiaries in this sector enjoy benefit of subsidized electricity rates and would not be inclined to adopt solar until some capital subsidy mechanism is in place. Hence, subsidy has to be retained for this sector upto a maximum capacity of 5 KWp as most of the residential consumers fall under this category.

No subsidy to other sectors: CFA will not be available for other categories i.e. residential (beyond 5 kWp), institutional, social, government, commercial and industrial sectors as the beneficiaries in these sectors are high tariff paying consumers and adoption of solar would be economically beneficial for them.

The tariff for these category of consumer is usually greater than Rs. 5 per unit and in some cases (industrial, commercial, institutionial and large Govt.) even upto Rs. 10 per unit. The power generated through RTS plant would result in significant reduction of the electricity bill paid by them to the DisCom, hence making it an economically viable solution.

Only enabling ecosystem is required to be created for such customers. Since DISCOMs are likely to incur additional expenditure in becoming the main implementation agency, in terms of capacity building, creating awareness, etc., it is proposed to compensate them by providing performance linked incentives.

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The incentives may be provided for each MWp capacity of solar rooftop, added by them in their distribution network. These incentives will be provided to enable DisComs to create an enabling ecosystem for expeditious implementation of RTS projects in their area.

The tasks taken by DisCom shall include but not be limited to providing dedicated manpower for RTS implementation, rooftop assessment, bid process management, technical studies, upgradation in ERP system/components, providing time bound services to RTS consumers, inspection and monitoring of RTS plants, online database management of commissioned capacity, consumer awareness and publicity, ensuring availability of net-meters, empanelled vendors along with rates, providing grid connectivity etc.

The DISCOMS will submit the cumulative capacity of grid connected RTS plants (in MWp) installed in their jurisdictional area as on 31st March 2018.

This will be taken as the installed base capacity for the first year of participating DISCOMS. The incentives will be given on incremental RTS capacity installed by the DISCOMS in their distribution network from the installed base capacity (at the end of previous financial year) within the time line of 12 months (financial year-wise, i.e. 01.04.2018 to 31.03.2019, 01.04.2019 to 31.03.2020 and so on till the duration of the scheme). The incentive pattern would be a progressive one with higher incentive rates for higher levels of achievement. This is elaborated in the following table:

S. No. Parameter Incentive to be Provided
1 For incremental installed capacity upto 10 % of the installed base capacity* within one financial year 5% of the project cost # of capacity installed in the year over and above the previous year’s installed capacity
2 Additional installed capacity, above 10 % and up to 15 % of the installed base capacity within one financial year (5% of the project cost for 10 % of the installed base capacity above the installed base capacity) + (10% of the project cost for additional capacity above 10 %)
3 Additional installed capacity beyond 15 % of the installed base capacity within one financial year (5% of the project cost for 10 % of the installed base capacity ) + ( 10% of the project cost for additional capacity above 10 % to 15 % of the installed base capacity) + ( 15% of the project cost for additional capacity beyond 15 % of the installed base capacity)

Scheme to Incentivise DISCOM:

DISCOMs will be incentivized, as explained at Point 4 above, for installation of grid connected RTS plants for incremental capacity installed in their jurisdictional area. The capacity eligible for incentives by DISCOMs would cover the entire total capacity installed including the capacity installed under CFA scheme for residential sector. Funds will be released on quarterly basis upon receipt of Project Installation Reports in prescribed formats. For Government DisCom, release of advance may be considered if sanction of specific capacity is sought by the DisCom.

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Responsibilities of DisComs: Following activities have to be ensured by DisComs for expeditious implementation of RTS projects:

  • Create a RTS cell at each Division level headed by Executive Engineer and the respective Sub-Divisional Officer shall act as nodal officer for implementation of RTS projects in its operation area.
  • Develop dedicated online portal for grid connected RTS projects.
  • Notify time bound procedure for implementation of the programme.
  • Notify cost of net-meters, related connectivity components and other charges and ensure availability of net-meters.
  • Undertake/follow transparent bidding (as per SBD and Guidelines to be provided by MNRE) and empanel vendors for supply and installation of RTS projects along with cost of such projects.
  • Ensure no CEIG inspection required for RTS plants upto 5 Kwh.
  • Undertake capacity building programs for DisCom officers for RTS projects on regular basis.
  • Undertake consumer awareness campaigns through print and electronic media, developed guidebook/handbook.
  • Inclusion of net metering settlement in ERP system.
  • Develop time bound grievance redressal mechanism.

Financial Outlay

Category Target CFA/incentive
Towards subsidy to residential

sector (1 to 5 kWp capacity)

5000 MW Rs. 9000 Crore (CFA of Rs. 18,000 per kW calculated at benchmark cost of Rs. 60,000 per kW)
Towards incentive to DISCOMs

for social, institutional, Govt.

sectors, commercial and

industrial sector

35000 MW Rs. 14450 Crore (Incentive of Rs. 5500 per kW calculated at benchmark cost of Rs. 55,000 per kW, assuming all Discoms would claim 7.5% on the average as incentive)
Total 40000 MW Rs. 23,450 crore

 

MNRE notes that the scheme would be in operation till March 2022.

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