SECI has revised the commissioning timelines of 1.95 MW of solar projects to be set up with 2.15 MW of battery energy storage systems at Lakshdweep Islands. For the 150 kW solar project at BangaRam Island and 100 kW project at Thinnakara Island, the commissioning timeframe has been amended to 12 months from the previous timeline of six months. Meanwhile, the commissioning timeline of 12 months for a 300 kW and 1,400 kW solar project to be set up at Agatti Island and Kavaratti Island, respectively remains the same.
To improve energy security in islands, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) launched a programme in 2016-17 for increased renewable energy integration in islands. In April 2016, the MNRE approved the implementation of 40 MW of distributed grid-connected solar PV capacity in the Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with an estimated central financial assistance (CFA) of Rs 1.92 billion. In November 2018, the MNRE revised the capacity from 40 MW to 52 MW and extended the implementation timeline for these projects from 2015-16 to 2017-18, which was further extended to 2018-19 in May 2018 and then to 2019-20. These solar projects are being implemented on a build-own-operate basis with the MNRE expected to provide 40 per cent of the project cost as CFA.
As per recent MNRE statistics, four organisations are implementing solar power plants under this scheme – Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited (REIL), NLC India Limited (NLCIL) and NTPC. SECI has already implemented about 1 MW of rooftop solar PV projects in Port Blair on government buildings, while the rest of the projects are under implementation or at the bidding stage.
Under Phase-III of the MNRE’s off-grid and decentralised solar applications programme, a CFA of 90 per cent of the benchmark cost or tender cost will be provided for the installation of solar street lights and individual solar power plants of up to 25 kW in the Andaman & Nicobar islands, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, the north-eastern states and Lakshadweep. For other states, the CFA is 30 per cent.