Bridge India

100 days on, still Haryana’s innovative solar rooftop policy sees no light

It has been more than 100 days since the government of Haryana has made it mandatory for all buildings with an area of 500 sq. yards or more to install solar rooftop systems. Unfortunately, there has been very little progress in the implementation of the policy. A pervasive culture of delays and an expectation that policies are not enforced makes the market very slow to react. Will this well intentioned policy join the fate of so many others and simply be ignored?

  • The mandatory solar rooftop policy in Haryana is ineffective so far
  • A lack of information and support from the government hampers implementation
  • The government itself has not executed any pilot solar installation

Under Haryana’s state solar policy, the government plans to install solar rooftop plants of up to 500 kW on a cluster of public buildings in each district headquarter. Also, private buildings are encouraged to form a cluster and get solar power from IPPs. For individual houses, building owners are to be incentivized through a net-metering policy at feed-in tariff decided by HERC.

The promising policy came about to help Haryana deal with its chronic power shortages. Solar makes a lot of sense in the state. Power tariffs are high, there is a good network of solar installers in the state, Haryana is very power hungry, the Discoms are loss making and cannot invest enough themselves: all factors are in favour for rapid solar adoption.

Till date, however, Haryana has only around 22 MW of utility scale solar installed and no more than 4.8 MW of rooftop solar. 6 MW of utility scale and 1.2 MW of rooftop was installed in 2014. With that, the state has less than 1% of the total solar installed in the country, a low number, especially compared to its 4% share of national power consumption.

In principle, the solar policy is clear, straighforward and should be effective. However, in reality, it is lost in the woods. Currently, no relevant power consumer group, be it schools, hospitals, colleges, office spaces, malls or even private bungalows is seriously considering building a rooftop system because of the policy. Why? The reason is lethargic implementation. It is something we have heard many times before in India. But it does not have to be that way. The policy could be implemented better with simple measures.

Currently, there is no guidance from the government to educate people about the minimum technical specifications required and the economic feasibility of a solar system. It would be key to inform and help large power consumers meet their obligations. Also, the lack of financial support (MNRE’s 15% subsidy and the state’s additional 10%), makes it tough for consumers to go solar. The policy like many other policies has been built on the MNRE’s subsidy scheme. This scheme, however, has itself not been implemented: funds are not made available and projects get indefinitely delayed as customers wait for a better deal. As a result of such shortcomings, the impression is created that the government is shifting the responsibility of providing reliable power supply to the consumers itself.

 An effective order for mass adoption of solar rooftops in the state could be:

[1] First start with public buildings, this can be organised (perhaps clustered) by the government
[2] Then move to large private entities (industries) and encourage IPPs
[3] Finally the residential building owners should be pushed for installations at their own roof

The government currently puts all focus on mandating individual owners to go for solar since that involves less participation from the government’s side. It would be better, however, if Haryana could inverse its approach. It could learn from Gujarat, which effectively implemented India’s first solar rooftop programme.

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