Even though the new Narendra Modi-led government has strongly advocated the use of solar power, the solar thermal industry still awaits reimbursements of Rs. 375 crore subsidy dues of the direct channel partners/manufacturers of solar water heaters pending since 2012.
The members of the Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI) said they have repeatedly asked the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to clear the dues as the industry, which is estimated to be about Rs. 800 crore in size, is on the verge of closure.
The MNRE launched a scheme in 2010 under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission to encourage installation of solar water heaters. The mission had set a target of deploying 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022 and reduces the cost of solar power generation in the country.
To promote the scheme, the government had announced a 30 per cent subsidy on solar water heaters sold through the direct channel partners across the country. The subsidy amount was to be reimbursed to the channel partners.
Jaideep N Malaviya, Secretary General of STFI said about Rs. 50 crore subsidy remains unpaid for 2012-13 fiscal and about Rs. 300 for 2013-14. As of now, arrears have gone up to Rs 375 crore, he added.
Mr. Malaviya cautioned that going by the market growth, the subsidy liability will increase by additional Rs. 500 crore.
“Faced with the situation of unreasonable delays in payment from MNRE, majority of the industry players are cash-strapped and have limited resources to run the show,” he said.