Brief on Off-grid Solar PV Programme
Off-grid Solar PV Applications Programme is one of the oldest programmes of the Ministry aimed at providing solar PV based applications in areas where grid power is either not available or is unreliable. Applications such as solar home lighting systems, solar street lighting systems, solar power plants, solar pumps, solar lanterns and solar study lamps are covered under the programme.
Under the National Solar Mission, a target of 2000 MWp was kept for off-grid solar PV applications. Under the Phase-I of the Mission from 2010-13, a target of 200 MWp was kept against which 253 MWp was sanctioned and under the Phase-II from 2013 – 17, a target of 500 MWp was kept against which 713 MWp has been sanctioned. Under Phase-III of the Off-grid and Decentralised Solar PV Applications Programme, a target of 118 MW has been kept excluding solar pumps which are to be installed under PM KUSUM Scheme and solar home lights which are being taken up under ‘Saubhagya’ Scheme of Ministry of Power.
Application-wise status of the installations under Off-grid and Decentralised Solar PV Applications Programme is as given below:
No. of units/capacity installed
Solar Street Lights
Solar Home Lighting Systems
Solar Power Plants/Packs
Solar pumps are an important component of the solar off-grid programme as it provides reliable irrigation facility in rural/remote areas of the country. Solar photovoltaic water pumping systems can easily meet the irrigation requirements of land holdings for small and marginal farmers. Therefore, solar pumps are being installed to replace the existing diesel pump used for irrigation.
Programme was first started by MNRE in the year 1992. From 1992 to 2014, about 11,600 solar pumps were installed in the country. During 2014-15, the Government allocated Rs. 400 crore for installation of one lakh solar pumps for irrigation and drinking water in the country. Till date, about 2.37 lakh solar pumps have been installed under the solar pump programme. Up to 30% of the benchmark cost of the solar pumps is provided as CFA under the Scheme.
Standalone solar pumps were part of the Off-grid and Decentralised Solar PV Applications Scheme up till 31.03.2017. Government have recently launched a new scheme named Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) which aims install new standalone solar pumps in off-grid areas and to solarize existing grid connected agricultural pumps. This will provide farmers with reliable source of irrigation, increase farmers’ income and their overall economic status and wellbeing.
Ministry is also implementing a scheme for 70 lakh Solar Study lamps, which aims to provide rural students with high quality and affordable clean light. Scheme is being implemented in 5 states viz., Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, which have more than 50% un-electrified households, as per census, 2011. Blocks with more than 50% kerosene dependent households are being covered under the scheme. Out of the total cost of lamp of about Rs. 450 per lamp, student has to pay only Rs. 100/- and the balance is provided as financial support from the Government.
Under Atal Jyoti Yojana(AJAY), Solar LED Street Lights in rural, semi-urban and urban areas are being installed in various States through 75% cost support from MNRE and balance 25% from MPLADS. The installation of Solar LED Street Lights ensure ample light in major roads, markets, public conveniences etc. in remote areas and would help the citizens of our country lead a safe and secure life.