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Rooftop solar projects facing an uphill task

Rooftop solar projects facing an uphill task


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a nationwide target for the energy sector to produce 100 gigawatts of power from solar energy, including 40 gigawatts from rooftop, by 2022. And based on that, the Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited has been given a stiff target of 3.5 MW in 2015 and an ambitious 84 MW for 2016.

To motivate the people, the Discom has even conducted two major solar energy exhibitions in Visakhapatnam, bringing all stakeholders such as the New & Renewable Energy Development Corporation of A.P. (NREDCAP), banks, solar panel manufacturers and dealers under one roof. The response is not heartening as the initial enthusiasm is dampened by the prolonged delay in the release of subsidy. As per the initial subsidy arrangement, those installing rooftop solar systems from 1 kw to 5 kw, are eligible for a subsidy of 50% — 30% from the Central government (MNRE) and 20% (NREDCAP) from the State government. But those who installed the systems say they have not received the subsidy component even after three years.

According to B.K. Agarwal, who has installed the rooftop system in 2014, he has so far not received a single rupee. “First of all to get it installed we had to face a lot of problems. And secondly whenever we approached the concerned authorities for the subsidy, they come out with vague reasons of delay. NREDCAP has asked innumerable sets of documents, which even the bankers do not ask while processing a big housing or car loan. And even after producing all documents they keep asking something or the other. The latest they have asked for is a certificate from a Chartered Accountant, certifying that we have installed the system. What has a chartered accountant got to do with my rooftop solar installation,” he wonders.

That is the same with almost all the 63 applicants, says Dr. Suresh Somayajula, Convenor of the BJP Solar Promotion Committee.

So far, only 17 of the 63 applications have been processed and subsidy released by NREDCAP in the last three years. The rest are running from pillar to post, he says.

When this was brought to the notice of MP K. Haribabu, he suggested that the subsidy component should be deducted before hand and the customer be made to pay only the balance, at least for smaller installations of 1 KW.

He said NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) implemented this system for the rural solar pump sets and it had yielded good results. The same should be implemented by NREDCAP to encourage people, he said. This was also supported by Chairman and Managing Director of APEPDCL M.M. Nayak.

Meanwhile, the State government has issued an order for stopping the subsidy component for all domestic projects over 1 KW.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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