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Solar rooftop subsidy for 10,000 customers in Tamil Nadu

According to reports, spend Rs 50,000, put up a rooftop solar plant, save Rs 9,200 a year — this is the Tamil Nadu Government’s pitch to domestic electricity consumers. The Government today issued an order making available a capital subsidy of Rs 20,000 for each 1 kW solar rooftop system, formalising a promise made by the Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in April.

The Tamilnadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA), which is the renewable energy development arm of the State Government, pegs the cost of a 1 kW solar rooftop system at Rs 1 lakh. The Government of India gives a subsidy of Rs 30,000. As such, the investor needs to bring in only Rs 50,000 (TN gives another Rs 20,000).

TEDA reckons that the solar system will generate 1,600 units a year. At a tariff of Rs 5.75 per kWhr, the annual savings works out to Rs 9,200.

The subsidy will be given on ‘first come first served’ basis. It will be given only to grid-connected, battery-less systems, and only for domestic consumers (‘LT-1A’ category). Solar power generated is to be consumed within the building. Consumers may choose to buy the solar systems from a list of vendors approved by TEDA. TEDA will “float a tender for empanelling the vendors,” the GO says.

The capital subsidy is only for 1 kW systems, for the first 10,000 applicants. Industry observers note that there is a growing interest for putting up large, commercial rooftop solar projects — in many cases, for meeting the ‘solar purchase obligation’ imposed on certain specified categories of consumers. While the SPO, challenged in the courts, is yet to kick-in, many consumers are not waiting for the court’s verdict.

For instance, the solar plant constructor SunEdison is putting up three 100 kW systems for Loyal Textiles Ltd. “We want to be compliant, we do not want to wait for the rules to be brought in formally,” says Manickam Ramaswamy, Chairman and Managing Director, Loyal Textiles. Naga Detergents of Dindigul has just commissioned a 600 kW rooftop project, again for meeting the SPO.

Plants such as these do not receive capital subsidy and have been asking for “some support.”

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