Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Rooftop solar is still out in the cold


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Net metering, SECI

Mains level: Renewable energy policies in India and issues related to them

Rooftop solar installation target difficult to achieve

  1. Against a target of 10,000 MW for March 31, 2018, the achievement as of the last day of 2017 was 923 MW for rooftop solar installation
  2. The government of India wants the country to have 100,000 MW of solar capacity by March 2022 — 60,000 MW from large plants and 40,000 MW from rooftops
  3. The target for rooftop plants appears unattainable

Reasons behind this

  1. Not an attractive alternative
  • For individual house owners, rooftop solar is still not an attractive alternative to the subsidized power supplied by the electricity distribution companies (discoms)
  • Discoms find ways of preventing big consumers such as factories, shopping malls from putting up rooftop solar plants and generating their own power because these are the customers from which discoms derive their sustenance

2. Net metering not allowed/partially allowed

  • Many states disallow ‘net metering’, which measures the power put into the grid by the rooftop plants
  • Others impose a cap on the capacity allowed for net metering

3. Bias for large size

  • The government-owned SECI , a renewable energy facilitating company, would come out with tenders on behalf of interested discoms
  • The bidders who quote the least tariff will put up the rooftop plants and sell power to the discom
  • By selecting the rooftop plants only through competitive bidding, the proposed policy comes with a bias for large size

What can be done to promote rooftop solar installations?

  1. Government can provide generation-based incentives (GBI) to users opting for rooftop solar
  2. A similar scheme served the wind industry well until it was scrapped last year
  3. A suitably structured GBI would lower the prices for the discoms to be attracted to it


Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd. (SECI)

  1. It is a company of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, established to facilitate the implementation of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission
  2. It was set up as a Non-for-Profit Company to promote solar energy in India
  3. It is the only public sector undertaking dedicated to the solar energy sector
  4. The company is responsible for implementation of a number of government schemes, major ones being the VGF schemes for large-scale grid-connected projects under JNNSM, solar park scheme, and grid-connected solar rooftop scheme
  5. The company also has a power-trading license and is active in this domain through trading of solar power from projects set up under the schemes being implemented by it
  6. The company’s mandate has been broadened to cover the entire renewable energy domain and the company will be renamed to Renewable Energy Corporation of India (RECI)
  7. It will take up development of all segments of renewable energy namely, geo-thermal, off-shore wind, tidal etc. apart from solar energy
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