Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said that PM Suroyadaya Yojna will aid households in saving ₹15,000-18,000 annually by installing rooftop solar for which an allocation of ₹10,000 crore has been proposed. “Through rooftop solarisation, one crore households will be enabled to obtain up to 300 units of free electricity every month. This scheme follows the resolve of (the) Prime Minister on the historic day of consecration of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya,” the Finance Minister said.

The expected benefits include savings up to ₹15,000-18,000 annually for households from free solar electricity and selling the surplus to the distribution companies, she added. It will also help to enable more EV charging, create entrepreneurship opportunities for a large number of vendors for supply and installation as well as provide more employment opportunities for the youth with technical skills in manufacturing, installation and maintenance, Sitharaman noted.

Nangia Andersen LLP Partner (Power Advisory) Arindam Ghosh said the deployment of rooftop solar is a significant step towards promoting sustainable growth and benefiting low-income groups. “To supplement the effort, it is recommended to develop a strong roadmap at the State level, with institutional monitoring set-up at the municipal level to ensure effective implementation, to enhance and support these admirable initiatives. Emphasis can be placed on areas that have high cost to serve, and the implementation of rooftop solar will lower these costs,” he added.

Capacity creation

Indian Solar Manufacturers Association President Ashwani Sehgal said “This offers a robust 30 GW opportunity and has massive upside for the solar manufacturers.”

On the other hand, the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) Senior Programme Lead Neeraj Kuldeep pointed out that CEEW’s analysis suggests that 20-25 GW of rooftop solar capacity would be supported. “Further, given that residential consumers receive subsidised electricity from Discoms, solarisation of the demand from these households will save about ₹2 lakh crore for discoms over the next 25 years (the solar plant’s life),” he added.

Crisil Market Intelligence & Analytics Director-Research Miren Lodha said government’s initiative to support rooftop solar is expected to translate into capacity additions of 20-22 GW. This could spawn investments of ₹91,000-1,10,000 crore and lift the overall installed base to 31-33 GW from 11 GW as of December 2023. “If fully implemented, this will help to achieve 80-85 per cent of the overall government target of 40 GW in rooftop solar installation. While the finer details are yet to be released, based on the current details of financial assistance, incremental investments will need government subsidies worth at least ₹35,000 crore over the scheme period,” he added.

It should be noted that budgetary allocation for solar (grid) is 110 per cent higher at ₹10,000 crore for FY25. This indicates that incremental budget allocation from the government will remain critical for successful implementation over the scheme period, Lodha explained.