Government unveils star label programme for solar panels

The Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy has introduced a Standards & Labelling Programme for solar modules to simplify the process for individuals to make well-informed choices when buying and installing solar panels. The programme is developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) will be effective from January 1, 2024 till December 31, 2025, with no labelling fees during this timeframe. The establishment of performance standards will empower customers to gain a clearer understanding of the cost-effectiveness and energy-saving benefits associated with the use of solar panels. The star labelling programme will allow retail consumers to make informed decisions by helping them distinguish between different models of solar panels, which currently appear quite similar.

Furthermore, this effort aligns with the government’s broader objective of increasing the proportion of renewable energy and reducing 45 per cent GDP emission intensity by 2030. The assessment indicates that the implementation of star-enabled solar panels will lead to a reduction of 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually by the year 2030. The government aims to promote solar modules that not only exhibit best quality but are also 100 per cent manufactured within India. This involves implementing policies to boost the domestic production of solar cells and wafers. India is dedicated to achieving excellence in solar module manufacturing through the gradual removal of less efficient modules and outdated models from the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers.

The Director General of BEE emphasised that the government anticipates adding a minimum of an additional 200 GW of solar panels, encompassing both ground-mounted and solar rooftop installations, between now and the year 2030. The programme is rooted in enhancing efficiency, and it is anticipated that the efficiency of solar PV modules will improve by an additional 2 per cent from its current levels, resulting in enhanced electricity generation by 33 GWh per year, thereby offsetting approximately 27,000 tons of emissions annually.

Furthermore, the government has stated that on a 10 square-meter roof area, upgrading from a 1-Star to a 2-Star solar panel will yield an additional electricity generation of approximately 12 per cent. Furthermore, the increase in electricity generation compared to a 1-Star solar panel can be as high as 29 per cent to 35 per cent for 4-Star and 5-Star panels. Furthermore, the government stated that the programme will be voluntary for the first two years, and thereafter, it will become mandatory.