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India approves more off-grid and decentralised solar PV applications programme

India approves more off-grid and decentralised solar PV applications programme

A press
statement released on 6 June
said that the Cabinet Committee on Economic
Affairs, run by the Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi,
has approved the implementation of Phase-Ill of Off-grid and Decentralised
Solar PV (Photo Voltaic) Application Programme to achieve additional 118
MWp(Mega Watt peak) off-grid solar PV capacity by 2020.

Under Phase-III of Off-grid
and Decentralised
Solar PV Application Programme, 300,000 solar street lights will be installed
throughout the nation, in areas where there are no power girds and street light
systems, specifically in North Eastern regions and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected
districts.

The programme will also promote
standalone
solar PV
power plants of individual size up to 25 kWp (Kilo Watt
peak) in areas where grid power is not available or not reliable. The idea is
to provide a steady electricity supply to public service institutions such as
schools, hostels, village councils (panchayats) and police stations, etc.,
and to increase the participation of women in education and social activities. The
aggregated capacity of solar power plants will be 100 MWp.

The project will distribute
around 250,000 solar study lamps to students in the North Eastern States and in
LWE affected areas.

North Eastern, other hill states and islands will receive
90% of the benchmark cost for solar street lights and solar power projects.
Other states will receive financial aid up to around 30% of the benchmark cost
of the projects. For solar study lamps, beneficiary students will have to pay only
15% of the lamp cost, and balance will be provided as financial support through
the provision of systems like these to students in schools in remote areas.

The total cost of the
project including its three components is IN ₹1,895 crore (around US $280,649,500) of which IN ₹637 (US $94,530,800) crore will be provided as central financial support.

Earlier this
year, the Minister of Power, Mr Raj Kumar Singh
announced
, “One
million solar study lamps have been distributed in three Indian states under
the One Million Solar Study Lamps Program which was approved in January 2014 by
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for empowering underserved communities.
The states which benefited from this program are Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,
and Rajasthan”.  

The off-grid solar systems are also likely to generate better
job opportunities for beneficiaries in rural and remote regions, consequently increasing
self-employment in those areas. The implementation of Phase-III will create
employment opportunities equal to approximately 867,000 man-days for skilled and unskilled workers, excluding
the increase in self-employment.

The Off-grid and Decentralised Solar PV Applications Programme
has the potential to greatly impact and improve the lives of people in rural India
through the provision of electricity to places where grid power is either unavailable
or unreliable.

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