Rooftop Solar Photovoltaics (RTPV) for poverty alleviation

Source: This post is created based on the article “Rooftop solar for poverty alleviation”, published in Business Standard on 22nd Feb.

GS Paper 2 – New and renewable Energy

Context: A detailed paper prepared by Infravision Foundation highlights the potential of Rooftop Solar Photovoltaics (RTPV) as the income generating source for lower income level segment.

The report proposes a Central government-sponsored scheme in the field of RTPV. It could be called Sooraj Se Rozgaari.

One such example is from China. Where, RTPV is one of the identified 10 initiatives rolled out by the government to lift rural households out of poverty.

Low-income household with limited roof space may receive a benefit anything from Rs 3,500 to Rs 6,000 per annum from the “free” sunlight.

Currently, the rooftop-subsidy programmes run by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy require consumers to bear about 60 per cent of the costs.

What is the proposed scheme for RPTVs?

The proposed scheme assumes a customer mix as shown in the image below.

Source: Business Standard

Government involvement in this scheme will be through Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA).

IREDA empowered with government incentives, would be involved in the Bulk procurement of RTPV, through State Renewable Energy Development Agencies (SRDAs). It may reduce capital costs of RPTV due to bulk order.

SRDAs will secure state regulatory approvals on benchmark costs of RTPV, including state-specific grid-installation charges and a fair developer margin.

Local developers will market the scheme, attract the consumers, install the modules and give consumer maintenance for 15 years. Upon the consumer’s order, developers will request SRDAs for necessary modules and infrastructure.

Developers will receive a fixed installation fee and yearly maintenance fees from SRDAs for their services.

Consumers will have to bear a part of the benchmark costs depending upon the category.

  • Low-income households do not have to pay for any share of the costs for RTPV installation and maintenance.
  • Social/institutional/small businesses bear 80 per cent of the costs,
  • The households with regular incomes bear 60 per cent.

Consumer will have to agree on the share of electricity for self-use from the electricity generated from RTPV. Rest of the generated electricity will be considered as sold to SRDAs.

SRDAs will gather electricity from all participating consumers and sale this power to other discoms, large consumers, and power exchanges to maximise it’s revenue.

Net financial assistance from the Central government will be calculated based on the  difference between the compensation paid to participating consumers and the realised sale price for electricity sold to other parties.

The proposed centralised scheme is expected to add 20 Gw of residential RTPV capacity over a five-year period.

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