Between September 2020 and November 2021, Maharashtra saw poor adoption of grid-connected rooftop solar. Only 8MW capacity was installed in the given period where the target of 25MW was set.
8 MW solar capacity has been installed at residences of 201 beneficiaries.
In March 2019, the Central Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) launched phase-II of its grid-connected solar rooftop programme. The target was to generate 40GW capacity by 2022.
MNRE provides 20-40% financial assistance to residential consumers. It offers 40% central finance assistance (CFA) for a capacity of 3kWp and 30% CFA for a capacity beyond 3kWp and up to 10kWp.
Group housing societies (GHS) and residential welfare associations (RWAs) receive 20% CFA for generating up to 500kWp (limited to 10kWp per house). State power distribution companies, known as DISCOMs, execute the scheme in states.
In January 2020, the ministry approved the proposal to install 25MW rooftop solar across Maharashtra. In response to this MSEDCL invited tenders for the empanelment companies to install the rooftop solar system. These empanelment companies needed to have 5 years warranty and 5 years maintenance support.
For once, factors beyond the pandemic are being blamed for the shortfall. A range of irrational conditions placed by the implementing agency is being cited.
THE IMPRACTICAL CONDITIONS?
A remote monitoring system needs to be provided according to the guidelines. The monitoring shall contain a bidirectional grid interface to fetch import energy, export energy, net energy, solar generation energy, voltage, current, billing parameters, percentage of device connectivity, percentage of data availability.
But according to one local solar panel manufacturer, these features is not developed in India or abroad. It is not available anywhere.
Also, the bidder for empanelment needs to insure the remote monitoring system for 5 years. The performance ratio of the RTS should be more than 75% throughout the 5-year warranty period, failing which bidders stand to lose their bank guarantee.
A variety of factors can cause a lower than 75% performance ratio poor adoption. Dust, shadow on the solar panel due to new building nearby or growth in the height of a tree overlooking the rooftop solar panel, and unstable grid supply can cause fluctuation in performance ratio.
1 kW Rs 46,820
1 kW to 2 kW Rs 42,470
2 kW to 3 kW Rs 41,380
Above 3 kW to 10 kW Rs 40,290
Above 10 kW to 100 kW including at group housing societies and resident welfare associations Rs 37,020
MSEDCL published ads with the following rates asking beneficiaries to apply for RTS. This cost included installation, wires, connections. This is not possible with the rates of materials doubling post-Covid-19 second wave.
All in all, this case is a perfect example of a communication gap between the officials and the solar module manufacturers. With accusations from both sides, it is the world that is suffering from climate change and global warming.