India releases draft guidelines for residential rooftop solar subsidies


From pv magazine India

India's MNRE has released draft guidelines for the PM Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana scheme, which is designed to support the installation of rooftop solar (RTS) plants in 10 million households with subsidy support from the central government.

The key objective of the scheme is to help provide free or low-cost electricity to 10 million households with up to 300 units of electricity per month by installing rooftop solar. The scheme will be implemented until March 31, 2027.

The MNRE said that the Phase II Grid Connective Rooftop Solar Programme, with a budget of INR 118.14 billion ($1.4 billion) until 2025-26, will persist until the introduction of the new scheme.

The central financial assistance (CFA) component of the scheme will be implemented through the National Portal for PM – Surya Ghar. Vendors will register on the National Portal and upload their details, including system offerings, price points, system design and specifications. The beneficiaries will apply on the National Portal and will get a unique application ID.

They will select the vendor for their rooftop solar installation assisted by various decision-making tools on the portal. The beneficiary and the vendor will mutually decide the rates, system specifications, customization of design as per location, and value-added services, subject to the minimum technical specifications mandated under the scheme.

To ensure that the customers are not overcharged, the MNRE will publish benchmark prices of solar modules, inverters, and other important equipment on the portal every year.

Once the designated vendor installs the RTS system after due approvals, the concerned distribution company (discom) will conduct a physical inspection, sign the necessary agreements with the beneficiary (net meter agreement or otherwise), conduct a checklist-based inspection and approve the discom report.

The scheme will establish minimum technical specifications required for rooftop solar to be considered eligible for the CFA. The CFA will be transferred to the concerned account of the beneficiary.

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For the purpose of CFA, the residential RTS plant would be a grid-connected solar power system tagged to a particular residential power connection of the local discom and will only include installations on a roof, terrace, balcony, or elevated structure.

Solar modules used in the installation must satisfy India's domestic content requirements. That is, the modules must be domestically manufactured from domestically manufactured cells to be eligible for the CFA.

The benchmark cost for a 1 kW system is fixed at INR 50,000/kW for the first 2 kW of RTS capacity and INR 45,000 for the additional kW with effect from Feb. 13, 2024. The benchmark for special category states or union territories will be INR 55,000 for first 2 kW of RTS capacity and INR 49,500 for the additional kW of RTS capacity.

The CFA for the scheme from the date of initiation (Feb. 13, 2024) is as follows:

The state and union-territory governments may supplement the CFA provided by the central government for the residential sector with an additional subsidy for RTS. However, this will be subject to adherence to all scheme guidelines by the state.

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