Plug loopholes in implementation of solar roof-top units programme, Central ministry tells implementing agency

Red-hot solar controversy has prompted the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to sound the warning bell.

The ministry is alarmed over reports of fraudulent companies swindling public in the name of installing solar power systems, and said it will put under microscope the implementation of the ambitious ‘10,000 solar roof-top programme’ in Kerala. Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) is implementing the programme in the State.

G. Prasad, Director (SPV - Decentralized / Off Grid / Roof top systems) of the Ministry, told The Hindu over telephone from New Delhi on Wednesday that he would soon convene a meeting to discuss and evaluate the implementation of the solar roof-top programme.

When asked whether Team Solar, the company facing allegations of financial fraud in the name of installing roof-top solar systems, was entrusted any role in the implementation of the programme, Mr. Prasad said they (Team Solar) were not a channel partner nor had any role in the solar roof-top programme.

Mr. Prasad said the central subsidy of 30 per cent per roof-top solar unit will not be released unless the ANERT authorities submit a detailed inspection report after verifying the systems installed in households.

The Director said the 10,000 roof-top solar panel programme by the Ministry was one of its biggest initiatives across the country and had generated a lot of interest. Besides the 30 per cent central subsidy, the State government provides Rs. 39,000 as subsidy for 1 kilowatt system and the total subsidy comes to about Rs. 92,000 for a unit that is expected to cost between Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 1.7 lakh.

Mr. Prasad said only around 1,000 to 1,500 systems were installed in the State after the project began in February this year. The Ministry will ask the director of ANERT to submit a detailed report on the project implementation and also ask him to come up with recommendations on how to ensure transparency in the entire programme.

Mr. Prasad said the details of the Ministry’s off-grid and decentralised solar application initiatives were available on the official website http://www.mnre.gov.in/. He said MNRE has also formulated guidelines to be followed by companies or individuals who want to avail the central subsidy for such projects.

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