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Govt to grade solar rooftop equipment

According to reports, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is working on an exercise to grade solar rooftop equipment, Tarun Kapur, Joint Secretary (Solar), MNRE, said here today.

The contours of the grading scheme are being worked out, but the grading would be similar to the ‘star rating’ given by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency on electrical appliances, Kapur said in an informal chat with journalists on the sidelines of Renergy 2013, a conference of the renewable energy sector, organised by the Tamilnadu Energy Development Agency. The need to grade solar equipment has to be seen in the context of the surge in demand for putting up solar rooftop projects. The Ministry gives a 30 per cent subsidy for rooftop projects up to 1 kW capacity. The demand for subsidy has gone up 4-5 times, Kapur said.

Giving an indication of the demand, he said that the target for solar rooftop projects to be put up under Phase I of the National Solar Mission was 200 MW. Against this, the Ministry has sanctioned projects worth 240 MW, he said.

In the Phase II of the National Solar Mission, MNRE wants to promote 800 MW of rooftop capacity over four years. The demand for subsidies will be for about 200 MW each year, compared with 240 MW in the last three years.

Kapur said that the various state distribution companies that enter into agreements with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to buy solar-generated power would stand to benefit immensely, as they would get power at Rs 5.50 a kWhr for the next 25 years. Bidders will bid for a capital grant from the Government that will help them meet bridge any viability gap in putting up a solar PV project and selling power from that project to SECI at a fixed tariff of Rs 5.45 a unit. Winning bidders will be those who demand least grant.

SECI, in turn, will supply the power it buys from these projects to various state electricity distribution companies. The government of India-owned SECI is, however, yet to enter into back-to-back agreements with the distribution companies for selling power at Rs 5.50 a unit.

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