PM Modi announces solar roof-top scheme for one crore households 

Currently, there is no centrally compiled estimate of the number of households in India with rooftop solar installations

January 22, 2024 10:03 pm | Updated January 23, 2024 03:09 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting and decided that the government will launch ‘Pradhanmantri Suryoday Yojana’ with the target of installing solar rooftop systems on 1 crore houses, after the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony of Ram Temple, in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting and decided that the government will launch ‘Pradhanmantri Suryoday Yojana’ with the target of installing solar rooftop systems on 1 crore houses, after the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony of Ram Temple, in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024. | Photo Credit: ANi

Hours after the consecration of the Ram idol in Ayodhya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, citing divine inspiration, publicly announced a scheme to electrify one crore households with solar electricity.

“Today, on the auspicious occasion of the consecration in Ayodhya, my resolve has been further strengthened that the people of India should have their own solar roof-top system on the roof of their houses. The first decision I have taken after returning from Ayodhya is that our government will launch ‘Pradhanmantri Suryodaya Yojana’ with the target of installing rooftop solar on one crore houses. This will not only reduce the electricity bill of the poor and middle class, but will also make India self-reliant in the field of energy,” Mr. Modi tweeted from his personal account.

No information on a timeline for such installations was given.

Accompanying the tweet were photographs of Mr. Modi convening a meeting with officials, including those from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. These included the department’s Minister, R.K. Singh, and Secretary, Bhupinder Bhalla.

Currently, there is no centrally compiled estimate of the number of households in India with rooftop solar installations. What is known is that despite increases in installed solar capacity, the growth in the number of rooftop solar installations has been muted. The Hindu spoke to multiple analysts, and though none had definitive numbers, it is estimated that there are less than 10 lakh households with rooftop solar installations.

As of July 31, 2023, only 2.2 GW (1 GW is 1,000 MW) worth of rooftop installations were reportedly installed in Indian homes, according to information presented to the Lok Sabha. To put that in perspective, the government, since 2010, has been claiming to install 100 GW by 2022 — 60 GW from utility project (mega concentrated solar parks) and 40 GW from rooftop solar. So far, about 56 GW has been installed in the utilities (July 2023) and 12 GW in rooftops.

Rooftop solar installations include panels in offices and homes. Of the nearly 12 GW of rooftop solar installations as of July 2023, about 87% are “non-residential”, according to a report by JMK Research.

The varied sizes of home-installations, which start anywhere from 1 kw, make estimates of the number of households hard to compute. “1 crore households is a big number to achieve. India has usually added less than 2 GW annually, except April-December last year [rooftop] but most of these are in offices and buildings. Currently, the incentive structures are such that it benefits commercial entities more than individual houses [to install solar panels],” said Vibhuti Garg, economist and Director, South Asia, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

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