BENGALURU: Delays in approving applications by Bangalore Electricity Company (BESCOM) for Centre’s Rooftop Solar Programme to harness energy have deprived people of Bengaluru of 40 per cent subsidy on installation charges and huge savings on electricity bills.
At least 1,200 applications from house owners are yet to be cleared by BESCOM and already, a third of them have been withdrawn. Apart from the subsidy offered, the Soura Gruha Yojane (SGY) by the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) permits the household to sell its excess power to the nodal agency, which is BESCOM for Bengaluru and its surrounding areas.
In the last two years, the scheme's progress has been deplorable.Kochu Shankar, who is passionate about utilising solar energy, said, "I wanted to install a 3 KW solar generator set up which costs Rs 1.5 lakh. With the subsidy, it would cost me just Rs 80,000. Besides, my monthly electricity bill of Rs 3,000 could have been saved."
With only BESCOM empanelled agencies permitted to install them, Shankar is waiting for it since January 2020. "Not just me, there are many neighbours too who are still waiting," he added. BESCOM MD P Rajendra Cholan, told The New Indian Express that the agency has already achieved 11.5 per cent on the renewable energy front.
"Anything we take on is only an additional burden for us. So, we had to hold discussions with the Centre about that. Following that, tenders for the first phase for 3.5 MW out of the allotted 50 MW permitted for the utility agency had been called two months ago and vendors would start work soon. For the second phase, we have been allotted 300 MW and we will soon call tenders for 50 MW," he said.
Asked about the expiry of the subsidy, he said that MNRE has agreed to extend it.Tenders to appoint vendors for the first phase, announced by the Centre, were floated in February and the subsidy was permitted until October 2021. The responses from the vendors were poor and the public has lost a subsidy of Rs 60 crore, Shankar added.