MNRE meetings these days take into account all the progress and concerns of  MNRE channel partners and always have new schemes to share with them. They are really spearheading development of Grid-connected solar in India.

Following is a brief of the takeaways/ announcements from the conference:

  • The first net-metering bill has been generated. The customer is ‘National Productivity Council’. This would serve as a guiding light for those DISCOMs still struggling with the format of the bill to be used for generating a ‘net-metered bill’
  • NISE (National Institute of Solar Energy) has been allotted funds of 216 crores to be used for training chartered engineers and solar plant designers. The training program would be of 3 months and the trained would be offered internships with channel partners. The effect of this would be that the shortfall of trained professionals would be taken care of which would be make the industry progress at a faster rate.
  • IREDA has announced scheme wherein it will provide loans at a rate of 9.9-10.75% to developers. The funding that IREDA can make available is 70% of the project cost and repayment period of 9 years.
  • MNRE has launched operational guidelines for channel partners, based on which all partners will be graded (refer).
  • To keep a stock of all the projects being executed, MNRE has created a template of ‘Project Completion Report’ which needs to be submitted to MNRE. The template followed will be different for <50 kW and >50 kW.
  • Various tenders were also announced by SECI for which channel partners were invited to apply. Implementation of projects of an aggregated larger capacity can now go to a minimum level of 20 kW and for certain tenders implement residential projects as well! So we have come from solar not being viable for residential users to it becoming extremely viable in just two years!
  • The subsidy application has been automated and now will be available to be filled online. That’s a great relief for both developers and end customers
  • Public sector banks have now been mandated to include loans for solar under housing loan which typically have an interest rate of about 10%. That’s some progress in 3 months (from the last MNRE meeting) when MNRE announced that they were in talks with banks to reduce interest rates offered for a loan for solar.

The overall mood of the meeting was extremely positive and encouraging pushing channel partners to achieve their targets. Also, MNRE was very open to constructive feedback that they can work on till the next meeting. We look forward to more such meetings and continued participation of the government to give a thrust to its channel partners.