Rooftop Solar Subsidies Should be Transferred to Beneficiaries, Not System Integrators

The Uttar Pradesh Solar Energy Developer Association (UPSEDA) has written a letter to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the additional secretary of the cabinet secretariat highlighting its concerns regarding the second phase of the rooftop solar program.

According to UPSEDA, the guidelines for the latest rooftop solar program only allow the transfer of subsidies granted under this program to empanelled vendors and system integrators instead of directly to the beneficiary account, which was the case in all previous programs of the MNRE (including the first phase of the rooftop solar program).

The association has argued that the guidelines which allow the transfer funds to only empanelled vendors violate the direct benefit transfer (DBT). The DBT was launched by the Government of India to reform its delivery system by re-engineering the existing process in welfare programs for the efficient flow of funds and to ensure accurate targeting of the beneficiaries, de-duplication, and reduction of fraud.

Further, UPSEDA has reiterated that the DBT mission is to be followed by all ministries or departments and their attached institutions, and applies to all central government-sponsored programs where a component of cash is transferred to individual beneficiaries.

Stating this, the association has requested the cabinet secretariat to step in and call for the amendment of guidelines issued by the MNRE.

In March 2019, the President of India approved the launch of the second phase of grid-connected rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) program in India. The program aims to help achieve the target of 40 GW of rooftop solar PV capacity by 2022. Under phase-II, 38 GW of grid-connected rooftop solar PV capacity is expected to be installed. The central government is expected to provide ₹118.14 billion (~$1.66 billion) as central financial assistance (CFA) for capacity building, service charges, and incentives to distribution companies (DISCOMs).