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29-June-2024-Special-Article

June 29 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

ROOFTOP SOLAR PROGRAMME 

By March 2024, India achieved an installed rooftop solar (RTS) capacity of 11.87 gigawatts (GW), reflecting a growth of 2.99 GW during 2023-2024. 

  • Government Initiative: The Rooftop Solar Programme was launched in 2014 to promote rooftop solar installations across the country. 

About the Rooftop Solar Programme 

  • Launch Year: 2014. 
  • Initial Target: 40 GW of RTS capacity by 2022 (part of 100 GW solar target by 2030). 
  • Extended Deadline: The target deadline was extended to 2026 as the 2022 goal was not met. 
  • Solar Panels: Photovoltaic panels installed on building rooftops and connected to the main power supply. 

Objective 

  • To encourage the installation of grid-connected solar rooftop systems on residential buildings. 

Historical Context 

  • Launch: Part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in 2010. 
  • Revised Target: Initially aimed for 20 GW of solar energy by 2022, later revised to 100 GW, including 40 GW from RTS. 

Key Initiatives under Rooftop Solar 

  • SUPRABHA: Sustainable Partnership for RTS Acceleration in Bharat. 
  • SRISTI: Sustainable Rooftop Implementation for Solar Transfiguration of India. 

Implementation and State Performance 

  • Implementation: Managed by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and executed through state nodal agencies and power distribution companies. 
  • Top Performers: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan. 
  • Moderate Performers: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka. 
  • Underperformers: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand. 

Significance of the Rooftop Solar Programme 

  • Decentralised Energy Production: Reduces dependency on centralized power grids, enhancing energy security and resilience. 
  • Economic Advantages: Lowers electricity bills, creates jobs in the solar industry, and reduces the need for expensive grid infrastructure upgrades. 
  • Energy Independence: Empowers consumers to become ‘prosumers’ (producers and consumers), reducing reliance on fossil fuels and energy imports. 
  • Rural Electrification and Energy Diversification: Provides power to remote areas, improves quality of life in underserved communities, and diversifies the energy mix. 
  • Sustainable Development: Aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 7) and supports India’s commitment to renewable energy and climate action. 

India’s Current Solar Capacity 

  • Rooftop Solar Capacity: 11.87 GW, with Gujarat leading, followed by Maharashtra as of March 2024. 
  • RTS Potential: Approximately 796 GW. 
  • Residential Sector: Only 20% of rooftop solar installations are in residential sectors; majority are in commercial and industrial sectors. 
  • Potential: India’s 250 million households could collectively install up to 637 GW of rooftop solar capacity, meeting one-third of the country’s residential electricity demand. 
  • Total Solar Capacity: Achieved approximately 73.31 GW by December 2023, with Rajasthan leading at 18.7 GW and Gujarat at 10.5 GW. 
  • Modhera: India’s first solar-powered village in Gujarat with 1,300 RTS systems of 1 kW each. 

PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana 

  • Aim: To provide RTS systems in 1 crore households. 
  • Benefits: Participating households receive 300 units of free electricity every month. 
  • Target: Residential consumers with systems up to 3 kW capacity. 
  • Registration: Residents must register on the national rooftop solar portal and select a vendor. 
  • Eligibility: Requires a valid electricity connection and no prior subsidy for solar panels. 
  • Financial Setup: Central allocation of Rs 75,021 crore, primarily for direct subsidies to consumers. 
  • Benefits: Free electricity, reduced bills, payback periods of three to seven years, increased renewable energy adoption, and reduced carbon emissions. 

Other Government Initiatives to Harness Solar Energy 

  • FDI in Renewable Energy: Permits up to 100% FDI under the automatic route. 
  • One Sun, One World, One Grid: Aims for a unified global grid. 
  • Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA): Ensures electricity access to all households. 
  • Green Energy Corridor (GEC): Facilitates the transfer of renewable energy from production to consumption centers. 
  • National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM): Enhances the power grid’s efficiency and reliability. 
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA): Promotes solar energy globally. 
  • National Solar Mission: Aims to establish India as a global leader in solar energy. 
  • Solar Park Scheme: Develops large-scale solar parks. 
  • Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM): Supports solar energy for farmers. 

Challenges 

  • High Initial Costs: A typical 3 kW residential system costs around Rs. 1.5-2 lakhs (before subsidies), and commercial installations can cost Rs. 40-50 per watt. 
  • Limited Awareness: Only 20% of RTS installations are in the residential sector. 
  • Grid Integration: States like Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu face grid stability issues due to intermittent solar generation. 
  • Limited Skilled Workforce: An estimated 300,000 skilled workers are needed in the solar sector. 

Way Forward 

  • Policy Reforms: Expand and simplify subsidies, increase coverage for larger systems, and streamline the disbursement process. 
  • Innovative Financing Models: Promote solar leasing and power purchase agreements (PPAs). 
  • Awareness and Outreach: Launch comprehensive public awareness campaigns and leverage social media and community engagement programs. 
  • Grid Modernization: Invest in smart grid technologies, energy storage solutions, and better forecasting and management systems for solar power. 
  • Capacity Building and Technology Innovation: Expand training programs like ‘Suryamitra’, partner with educational institutions, and invest in R&D for more efficient and cost-effective solar technologies. 

Mains Question: 

  1. Describe the objectives and achievements of India’s Rooftop Solar Programme, highlighting its impact on energy security and sustainable development. (150 WORDS)

Details

Date:
June 29
Time:
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category:
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