India’s Prime Minister Unveils Plan to Electrify One Crore Households with Solar Power

By Editor


India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to his personal Twitter account to announce the launch of the ‘Pradhanmantri Suryodaya Yojana,’ a visionary scheme aimed at electrifying one crore households in India through solar power.

The Prime Minister emphasized the scheme’s dual benefits of reducing electricity bills for the poor and middle class while concurrently enhancing India’s self-reliance in the energy sector. Narendra Modi’s announcement came following a strategic meeting with officials, including key figures from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, such as Minister R.K. Singh and Secretary Bhupinder Bhalla.

Despite the ambitious nature of the plan, no specific timeline for the installations was provided in the announcement.

The lack of a centrally compiled estimate on the number of households with rooftop solar installations in India underscores the current challenge. Although the country has witnessed an increase in installed solar capacity, the growth in rooftop solar installations has been relatively subdued. While no definitive figures are available, analysts estimate that the number of households with rooftop solar installations is currently less than 10 lakh.

As of July 31, 2023, reports to the Lok Sabha indicated that only 2.2 GW of rooftop installations were installed in Indian homes. This figure is notably below the government’s previously stated target of installing 100 GW by 2022, comprising 60 GW from utility projects (mega concentrated solar parks) and 40 GW from rooftop solar. Up to July 2023, approximately 56 GW has been installed in utilities, with only 12 GW in rooftop installations.

Rooftop solar installations encompass a variety of settings, including panels in both offices and homes. A report by JMK Research revealed that 87 percent of the almost 12 GW of rooftop solar installations as of July 2023 are classified as non-residential.

Estimating the number of households benefiting from these installations is a complex task due to the diverse sizes of home-based installations, which can start from as low as 1 kW. Vibhuti Garg, economist and Director, South Asia, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), expressed skepticism about achieving the ambitious target of electrifying 100 crore households, citing the prevailing incentive structures that currently favor commercial entities over individual homes for solar panel installations.

The unveiling of the ‘Pradhanmantri Suryodaya Yojana’ reflects the government’s commitment to expanding solar energy access, but challenges lie ahead in meeting the scale of the proposed installations and ensuring broad-based benefits for households across the country.

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