Centre to ensure all government buildings have solar roof-top

Four power ministry PSUs have been roped in for this excercise

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The Centre on Saturday directed four public sector utilities (PSUs) of the power ministry to saturate all buildings under the administrative control of the central government with solar rooftops by 2025.  

In a meeting held in the power ministry, the PSUs were asked to either provide central financial assistance or pursue the offices to install solar rooftops on their own. 

The exercise is part of the revamped solar rooftop scheme—PM Suryodaya Yojana (PMSY) or PM-Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana—which found a mention in Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Interim Budget speech in February. The scheme was approved on February 29, 2024 and has a financial outlay of Rs 75,021 crore.  

Interestingly, PMSY is primarily aimed at installing solar power systems on the roofs of 10 million households to enable free electricity to consumers. However, what made the government expedite the scheme’s implementation in all central government offices first is the absence of clarity on the credibility of registered vendors to implement PMSY in households. It is envisaged that the residential sector consumers shall be free to enter into arrangements with registered vendors through a portal at mutually discovered rates and no tendering will take place by the state DISCOMs/agencies under the scheme to empanel the vendors. 

“This clause has been creating a lot of trust and credibility issues with respect to the registered vendors to implement the scheme in households in a committed manner,” sources said.

The government is trying to give impetus to rooftop solar in India which has been lagging as compared to the grid-connected ground-mounted solar power projects. Out of the total installed solar power generation capacity of 73 gigawatts (GW) in the country, ground-mounted (large-scale solar power generating units) is 56.9 GW, while grid-connected rooftop solar is only 11 GW and off-grid is 2.75 GW. The power ministry officials said there are currently around 6.5 lakh household rooftop solar systems across the country. 

“These numbers need to increase if India wants to meet its targets. The percentage of rooftop solar is very less. While the guidelines for implementing PMSY in households is being finetuned, four power ministry PSUs have been directed, meanwhile, to expedite installation in central government offices,” sources added.  

As per the draft guidelines for implementation of PM-Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana, a section on ‘Rooftop Solar on Government Building’ states that all government rooftops under the administrative control of the central government including autonomous bodies and subordinate offices “shall be saturated with rooftop solar to the extent possible technically by 2025.” 

The guidelines read that the available rooftop space will be utilized on a priority basis. “The central public sector enterprises with experience in deployment of renewable energy technologies will assist the ministries in deploying rooftop solar on their assets on a priority basis.” 

The ministry of new and renewable energy will monitor and track installations in the government sector. “All buildings under central government shall deploy roof top solar in mission mode to achieve saturation by 2025,” it reads.  

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