Old Off-Grid Solar Projects Could Soon Be Grid-Connected

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has received requests from state nodal agencies and implementing agencies for connecting old off-grid solar projects sanctioned under MNRE’s program to the grid.

Addressing the issue, the MNRE has decided that off-grid solar power projects which were installed earlier for which reliable grid supply is now available with the net-metering provision, can be connected to the grid as it will lead to optimal utilization of assets.

However, the MNRE notification clarified that the conversion of such projects is subject to applicable regulatory provisions; with the cost of such conversions to be borne by the concerned state government or beneficiary departments.

Grid stability is currently a cause of concern in India. The demand for electricity in India is expected to continue its rise along with economic growth. Government-run electrification programs like the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA) to electrify all willing households in the country  (24*7 Power to All), Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), and Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA), could further fuel an increase in electricity demand with an increasing number of households getting connected to the grid. In an exhaustive report by Mercom, it was noted that since India’s grid infrastructure is not keeping pace with power generation additions, making microgrid and mini-grids can be an important piece of the energy puzzle, especially in rural areas and regions where the grid has not reached the population.

The MNRE realizes the importance of the role renewable energy-based mini and microgrids are going to play in India, and the Ministry aims to set up a minimum of 10,000 renewable energy-based micro and mini-grids across India with an estimated capacity of 500 MW.

Soumik is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, Soumik was a correspondent for UNI, New Delhi covering the Northeast region for seven years. He has also worked as an Asia Correspondent for Washington DC-based Hundred Reporters. He has contributed as a freelancer to several national and international digital publications with a focus on data-based investigative stories on environmental corruption, hydro power projects, energy transition and the circular economy. Soumik is an Economics graduate from Scottish Church College, Calcutta University.