One of India’s largest states has announced a comprehensive off-grid solar power policy with a target to add 200 MW capacity over the next five years.
The state government of Maharashtra recently announced that it finalised a policy to spend Rs 2,682 crore (US$400 million) to develop off-grid solar power projects. The policy calls upon several government departments to set up rooftop solar power projects. Several government departments are expected to set up solar power systems atop their buildings.
The policy is looking to reduce burden on the transmission grid which remains susceptible to breakdown and failures. The state government will provide incentives to those looking to develop off-grid solar power projects. Project owners will receive 20% of the cost invested in procuring equipment from the project. Through this financial incentive the government hopes to encourage small and medium entrepreneurs to invest in renewable energy sector.
The state government itself will provide Rs 1,600 crore (US$240 million) while the rest is expected to come from the central government and the Clean Energy Fund. Recently, the central government announced that it plans to provide $770 million in subsidies for rooftop solar power projects by 2022.
The state government shall also provide financial support to villages with population less than 5,000. The financial support of Rs 500 crore (US$75 million) will be used to install around 10,000 solar-powered water pumps.
India has set a very ambitious target to have 40 GW of rooftop solar power capacity installed by March 2022. The current off-grid solar power capacity is just 280 MW. Maharashtra is expected to contribute significantly towards this target. Maharashtra has the highest expected capacity addition for solar power among all states – almost 12 GW of solar power capacity is expected to be added by 2022.
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