Interim budget 2024: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced during the presentation of the interim budget on Thursday that the government will implement a rooftop solar initiative that will allow one crore homes to receive up to 300 units of free power per month.

“This scheme follows the resolve of the honourable Prime Minister on the historic day of consecration of Sri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya,” the Prime Minister stated in parliament.

Sitharaman outlined the program’s numerous advantages, which include the ability for households to save up to Rs 15–18,000 annually, the ability to sell excess electricity to discoms, the creation of business opportunities for vendors in the EV charging infrastructure, and the provision of installation and maintenance jobs for young people with the necessary skills.

Sitharaman added that the government will support more resource-efficient economic growth in accordance with the Panchamrit objectives. This will contribute to the availability, affordability, and accessibility of energy. The FM stated that the financial sector will be prepared in terms of size, capacity, skills, and regulatory framework by our government to satisfy the investment needs.

She also unveiled plans to accomplish the Net zero goal, including a new biomanufacturing scheme, coal gasification, VGF for offshore wind energy, and an expansion of the EV ecosystem.

An essential component of India’s ambition to produce 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030 is solar energy. It is essential to the nation’s attempts to fight climate change and lessen its reliance on fossil fuels.

A total of Rs 7,327 crore has been allocated for grid, offgrid, and PM-KUSUM solar power projects in the Union Budget for 2023–2024. Compared to the Rs 4,979 crore that was previously granted in the revised projections for the previous budget, this represented a 48% increase.

Since the Center recently announced the Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana, rooftop solar energy has become increasingly popular among the various energy options being accepted in the nation. With the use of solar rooftop systems, the program hopes to power homes and give extra cash for electricity produced in excess. The goal of the January-announced project is to equip one crore families with rooftop solar power.

At the scheme’s debut, the Prime Minister declared, “Every household with a roof can harness the power of the sun to reduce their electricity bills and to make them truly aatmanirbhar for their electricity needs.”

The Rooftop Solar Programme was started in 2014 by the BJP government with the goal of installing 40 gigawatts (GW) or 40,000 megawatts (MW) of total capacity by 2022. This was a component of the strategy to generate 100 gigawatts of solar energy by 2022.

With only 63.3 GW of solar power generated, the 2022 objective was missed. The output of solar power reached 73 GW by the end of 2023. Forty GW of the 100 GW of solar power were intended to come from rooftop solar panels. However, rooftop solar energy generation was only 11 GW by the end of 2023.

To encourage projects and offset the increased cost of solar panels, the government raised baseline federal financial aid for the residential sector in January under the rooftop solar program.

Per a statement from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, support for up to 3 kW capacity was increased to Rs 18,000 per kW for general states, up 23.4% from Rs 14,588 per kW previously.

The support for general states has been increased from Rs 7,294 per kW to Rs 9,000 per kW for capacities above 3 kW and up to 10 kW.