Government halves the size and financial aid for its largest-ever rooftop solar...

Government halves the size and financial aid for its largest-ever rooftop solar project

rooftop solar

NEW DELHI: The largest-ever rooftop solar tender’s size has been split by the renewable energy ministry and the ministry has also cut the financial assistance offered for it. According to Ashvini Kumar, managing director of state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), which had released documents related to a tender for installation of 1GW of rooftop solar plants across buildings of 12 central ministries, told ET that there has been a reduction in the tender size to 500 MW.

As of end October 2016, the 1 GW project would have doubled India’s rooftop solar capacity from 1020 MW. Speedy completion of projects by linking the government’s financial assistance to it was also incentivized in the tender.

For instance, in all states, apart from the special category ones, if developers complete at least 80% of the project within 15 months they will get Rs 18,750 per KW as assistance. Projects in special category states – mostly the hill states – under the same terms will get Rs 45,000 per KW. Depending on the extent of completion, the figures will be progressively lowered, while no assistance would be given to those who fail to get 40% of their project done in 15 months.

An official, who does not wish to be named, said that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has now allocated Rs 1,040 crore as the total amount that will be available as financial assistance for the project . Assistance offered across the board has also been slashed – for instance, in the general category states those who complete 80% of their project within 15 months will now get Rs 16,250 per KW and in special category states Rs 39,000 per KW.

Since the ministry has ruled out that the actual assistance should be not more than 25% of the benchmark cost of the project in general-category states and 60% in the special-category ones  therefore it may be even less it. The lowest cost quoted during the bidding process will be the benchmark cost.

An official said, “It is true that developers are unhappy with the changes. “Calculation of the roof area has been done aggressively,” said Sunil Bansal, general secretary, Rajasthan Solar Association. A developer who did not want to be named, said. “There is nobody at SECI at present to take ownership of rooftop development,” SECI’s Kumar refuted both allegations. Under the capex model (where the building owner also owns the solar project), Of the 500 MW, 150 MW will be set up and under the resco model (where the building owner leases the roof to the developer) 350 MW.

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