National Solar Mission Implementation of State-Level Solar Rooftop Photovoltaic Programs in India
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India has announced an ambitious solar target of 100,000 megawatts (MW) installed capacity by 2022, of which 40,000 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are to be installed on rooftops. There have been several efforts at the policy, regulatory and implementation levels for solar rooftop deployment in India.
For a long time, the country witnessed solar installations with the help of Government funding, which has now started evolving to various public-private partnership (PPP) and private sector-based models. However, the net capacity of such projects has till now remained limited, especially compared to the regulatory and procedural efforts undertaken to realize such projects.
With dramatic reduction in PV prices over the last couple of years, we are entering an era of ‘grid-parity’, where the cost of solar electricity is competitive with retail electricity tariffs in many cases. This presents a whole new opportunity for the country, the sector and the market.
However, in order to realize widespread solar rooftop deployment opportunities, the implementation process for each stakeholder needs to be clear and simple. As many State nodal agencies (SNAs) and distribution companies (DISCOMs) embark on their journey of solar PV rooftop development, they will face challenges – most of these are teething troubles – which could include lack of clarity in policy or regulation to technical uncertainty to detailing and simplification of administrative procedures.
Implementing agencies can follow the ‘learn-as-you-go’ approach, but this approach would be costly and time consuming, as most of the issues would already been sorted out by someone else somewhere around the world or maybe even in India. This Guide attempts to lay out a comprehensive and efficient solar PV rooftop implementation support process into a single document. It captures global and national best practices and learnings. The Guide primarily addresses grid-connected rooftop PV systems, under both net metering and gross metering connectivity.
Organization of this Guide
The Guide is organized to provide necessary and sufficient information to almost all stakeholders, especially administrative stakeholders including:
State-level policy-makers and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs).
Implementing agency(s), usually the SNA or the local DISCOMs.
Solar rooftop project developers, installers or even electrical inspectors.
Financial institutions (FIs).
While it is recommended that all the stakeholders read the entire Guide, the Guide is designed to be also used as a reference, where one can read specific chapters or sections related to their role or responsibility. The chapters cover the following aspects:
Chapter 2 (Business Models) discusses the basis of the transaction structure of any solar rooftop programme – the relationship between different stakeholders and the prevailing business models in the space.
Chapter 3 (Policy and Regulation) is oriented towards policy-makers and regulators, addressing key considerations from the State’s perspective towards its administration as well as the stakeholders.
Chapter 4 (Technical Standards and Specifications) is oriented towards the implementing agencies, primarily the DISCOMs and SNAs, as they are concerned with the safety, quality and performance of the solar installations. Relevant technical configurations in terms of system design and configuration; safety, performance and quality standards; documentation and compliance requirements are discussed in this chapter.
Chapter 5 (Administrative Processes) deals with specifics of administering a solar rooftop programme and details all critical preparatory, interconnection-related, and operation-related processes of the DISCOM.