ANERT's Rooftop Solar Plant Project Hit Hard by Government’s Financial Crisis
KOZHIKODE: After being hit by the ‘Saritha scam’ in the beginning, the revolutionary 10,000 Rooftop Solar Power Plants programme undertaken by the ANERT could now become the next casualty of the cash-strapped Kerala government.
With the Finance Department delaying its decision on sanctioning the release of the State government subsidy worth Rs 14 crore inordinately, the Central government subsidy of Rs 19 crore allocated to ANERT for the project is set to lapse by December 2014.
The project was started in the 2012-13 fiscal as a decentralised stand alone rooftop solar power generation programme, as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. ANERT has completed installing 6,400 rooftop plants across the state. However, since March 2014, the Finance Department has been refusing to accord sanction to disburse subsidy to the pending 3,600 rooftop power plants, which have already been awarded the work order.
The total subsidy given per 1 kilowatt solar rooftop power plant is Rs 92,262, with allocations from the Centre and the State government worth Rs 53,262 and Rs 39,000 respectively. So far, ANERT has received over 14,000 applications for the project and counting.“The project got off to a good start with the attractive subsidy scheme. But, later a lot of people cancelled the work order following the solar scam and related controversies. After a brief lull, people again started opting the project and it has to be noticed that there are few complaints about the plants. Despite discontinuing promotions for the scheme, we are getting 50 to 60 enquiries daily. It is a major achievement that 6.4 megawatt power is being produced from solar energy in the state through the programme. However, the financial crisis of the State government has badly affected its execution since March 2014,” said an official with ANERT.
Sources said even if the State government releases the promised subsidy amount in the coming days, ANERT will have to approach the Centre to extend the project period at least till the end of February 2015. “It is going to be a Herculean task,” the official added.
The recent proposal of the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission to give an incentive of Rs 1 per unit of power for off-grid solar power generators has also prompted the public to turn to the solar power plant project.
Meanwhile, ANERT is mulling over opening a common facilitation centre in each district to ensure timely support of the service providers to the beneficiaries.