The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced a target to install 118 MW of solar power capacity by March 31, 2020 through off grid solar photovoltaic (PV) applications under the Phase-III of its Decentralized Solar PV Applications Program.
In the financial year 2018-19, deployment of 50 MW of solar is being considered with an outlay of Rs 2,760 million, while for the financial year 2019-20 installation of 68 MW with an outlay of Rs 3,800 million is being targeted.
The programme aims to install 300,000 solar street lights throughout the country, especially in areas lacking grid-connected street lighting systems. The programme also plans to set up 100 MW of rooftop solar power projects of 25 kW capacity each, in areas with no or poor electricity connectivity. The rooftop projects under this programme will primarily focus on providing electricity to schools, hostels, panchayats, police stations and other public service institutions. Moreover, the programme will provide about 2,500,000 solar study lamps to school-going children in north-eastern states and left wing extremism affected districts.
The key highlights of the programme are:
- A central financial assistance (CFA) equal to 30 per cent of the benchmark cost of the system or the tender cost (whichever is lower), will be provided in general category states for solar street lights and solar power projects.
- In north eastern-states including Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, CFA of 90 per cent of the benchmark cost or tender cost, whichever is lower, will be provided.
- For solar study lamps, a CFA of 85 per cent of the lamp cost will be given and the remaining 15 per cent balance will be borne by the beneficiary student.
- A total of 3 per cent of the eligible CFA will be provided as service charges to the implementing agencies. Moreover, the implementing agencies will not be allowed to impose any additional charges on beneficiaries or vendors for setting up the projects under this programme.
- Allocation for solar street lights and solar study lamps will be done by a screening committee after calculating the demand from the states and union territories.