Sushil Sarawgi, Director, Kor Energy India
For FY2017v18, the government has truncated the target for rooftop solar to 1,000 MW from the previous 5,000 MW. What accounts for the present slowdown in the segment?
There are many factors for the truncation of targets and also for slowdown in the segment. Firstly, the previous targets were somewhat over ambitious and the government has lately recognised this. Many government agencies including SECI had tendered mega projects for subsidies and incentives for residential, social and government sector rooftop installations in the previous year but the achievement is less than 10 per cent of the tendered capacity in some cases. Demonetisation and GST had somewhat withheld private investments and the industry was adjusting itself to changes in tax laws leading to lesser capital expenditure for rooftop solar. Still not much has been done to promote and educate private sector on rooftop solar installations. The approach of government agencies responsible for capital subsidy and net metering in many states are still a put off for many customers. Now, with much news of safeguard duty, the industry is looking for clarity in this matter.
According to MNRE data, cumulatively only 271 MW of projects have been installed till December 2017. Does this call for a review of some aspects of the policy?
There is a complete lack of coordination between DISCOM, state nodal agencies, central agencies and MNRE for collation of such data. There is a need for a common project approval and completion report submission platform, or integration of all such platforms, so that data can be seamlessly compiled on real-time basis.
How can the policy on net metering be made more cohesive to propagate adoption of rooftop solar and also allow users to sell surplus electricity?
Net metering in most of the states is a big bottleneck. DISCOM officials are not aware of the policies and they do not have the required infrastructure to record and give benefits of units exported to grid.
There is a need to first build infrastructure for the same and also educate all concerned so that net metering can be implemented fast. In some cases, plants remain shut down for more than six months after installation for not getting net metering done.
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