There was no bar on increasing the list of empanelled agencies under ANERT, said head of the National Solar Mission

The Union Ministry of New and Renewable energy (MNRE) has ruled out a rollback of its ambitious roof-top solar programme in Kerala amid the raging solar scam in the State.

Instead, the Ministry has plans to strengthen its programmes while ensuring that the people are not taken for a ride by fraudulent agencies in the name of installing centrally assisted photovoltaic systems.

Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary in MNRE spearheading the National Solar Mission, told The Hindu that the Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT), which is implementing its ‘10,000 roof-top solar programme’, has been directed to be “more careful as people [fraudsters] can make tall claims and later take the customers for a ride”. He said the common man needs to tap the potential of solar energy to address their increasing power requirements.

Asked whether the promoters of ‘Team Solar’ company involved in the solar scam had made efforts to get into the empanelled list of suppliers of solar panels under the MNRE, Mr. Kapoor denied such reports and said empanelling remains a lengthy procedure. Even those who were not manufacturers need to source a product and get it tested and certified from an authorised laboratory. Only then they can they apply for accreditation, he said.

The head of the National Solar Mission pointed out that there was no bar on increasing the list of empanelled agencies under ANERT but whoever [company] is considered should have a service network. He also said the Ministry had been encouraging start-ups and innovators to join the solar field.

Mr. Kapoor said MNRE has recommended a special public awareness campaign in the State to check fraudulent agencies swindling public in the name of installing centrally assisted SPV systems. The Ministry would launch the campaign soon and it would be carried out by ANERT, he said.

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