India’s Solar Power Schemes

India, a nation blessed with abundant sunshine, is strategically harnessing solar energy to meet its growing energy demands and transition towards a clean energy future. The government, recognizing this potential, has implemented various solar schemes to incentivize solar power adoption across different sectors. This article explores the key solar schemes currently operational in India, their benefits, and their impact on the country’s energy landscape.

National Rooftop Solar Programme (PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana)

Launched in the 2024-25 budget, this flagship scheme aims to empower households, particularly those belonging to the low- and middle-income segments, to embrace solar power. Popularly known as PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana (Free Electricity Scheme from Rooftop Solar), it provides subsidies for installing solar panels on rooftops. These panels generate electricity for domestic use, reducing dependence on the grid and lowering electricity bills.

The scheme targets the installation of solar panels in one crore (ten million) homes. It offers a subsidy of up to ₹30,000 per kilowatt (kW) for systems with a capacity of up to 2 kW, with a maximum subsidy of ₹78,000 for larger systems. This financial assistance incentivizes homeowners to adopt solar power, making it a more accessible and attractive option.

Benefits:

  • Reduced electricity bills: By generating their own solar power, households can significantly lower their dependence on the grid, leading to substantial savings on electricity bills.
  • Free electricity and surplus power sale: The scheme allows homeowners to generate up to 300 units of free electricity per month. Any surplus power generated can be sold back to the electricity distribution companies, creating an additional source of income.
  • Increased energy security: Rooftop solar power plants provide a degree of energy independence, mitigating the impact of power outages and fluctuations in grid prices.
  • Environmentally friendly: By reducing reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation, solar power helps combat climate change and promotes a cleaner environment.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyaan (PM-KUSUM)

This scheme focuses on empowering the agricultural sector by promoting solar-based solutions for farmers. It has three components:

  • Component A: Provides financial and technical assistance to install grid-connected, ground-mounted solar power plants in agricultural fields. The generated electricity can be used for irrigation purposes during the daytime, reducing dependence on the grid and lowering electricity costs.
  • Component B: Encourages farmers to install standalone solar pumps for irrigation. These pumps operate independently of the grid, ensuring water availability for irrigation even in remote areas with unreliable grid connectivity.
  • Component C: Promotes the installation of solar dryers and solar-powered cold storages to help farmers dry and store agricultural produce, reducing post-harvest losses and enhancing income.

Benefits:

  • Reduced irrigation costs: Solar-powered irrigation systems help farmers save significantly on electricity bills used for traditional pump operation.
  • Improved water management: Grid-connected solar power plants ensure daytime irrigation, optimizing water usage and reducing wastage.
  • Increased income: Solar dryers and cold storages help preserve agricultural produce, minimizing post-harvest losses and allowing farmers to fetch better prices for their crops.
  • Enhanced livelihood security: By reducing dependence on the grid and lowering energy costs, PM-KUSUM empowers farmers and improves their overall livelihood security.

Other Key Solar Schemes:

  • Solar Park Scheme: This scheme facilitates the development of large-scale solar parks in designated areas with good solar radiation potential. The government provides infrastructure support and facilitates land acquisition to attract private investments in these solar parks.
  • Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI): This scheme aims to boost domestic manufacturing of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. It provides financial incentives to companies setting up manufacturing facilities in India, promoting self-reliance and reducing dependence on imported solar equipment.
  • Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs): This market-based mechanism promotes the development of renewable energy projects. Power producers with renewable energy sources like solar can sell RECs to obligated entities who have to meet specific renewable purchase obligations (RPOs). This creates a financial incentive for renewable energy adoption.

Impact of Solar Schemes:

India’s solar schemes have played a pivotal role in accelerating the country’s solar power adoption. The country has witnessed a significant increase in installed solar capacity in recent years. This has led to several positive impacts:

  • Reduced reliance on fossil fuels: Increased solar power generation helps decrease dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation, promoting cleaner air and mitigating climate change.
  • Increased energy security: Solar power diversification reduces dependence on traditional energy sources, enhancing India’s energy security.
  • Job creation: The solar sector is a significant job creator, with opportunities in manufacturing, installation, operation