Solar rooftops: Govt removes duties amid tepid response

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In a bid to encourage the use of rooftop solar power, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has exempted customs and excise duties on materials used in solar rooftop projects of more than 100-KW capacity. The move is expected to cut down the overall cost of power generation through solar rooftop projects. Currently, grid tariff for rooftop solar hovers around Rs 6 per unit. Solar tariff touched a new low last week as the final levelised tariff for a 250 MW solar project in Andhra Pradesh was discovered to be Rs 3.15 per unit.

The development also coincides with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) extending the bid-submission deadline for 1,000-MW grid-connected rooftop solar scheme for government buildings. SECI has received no bids for tenders for the scheme. An official said that all the relevant players in the market were waiting for this step by the government. SECI expects the decision to elicit good response for the tenders.

However, Kameswara Rao, partner at PwC, said that net benefit would be relatively small as such installations often use subsidy or viability gap funding.

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