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Hurdles in Telangana’s Solar Power Push: DCR Policy and Discom Delays

Hurdles in Telangana’s Solar Power Push: DCR Policy and Discom Delays

The Indian government’s ambitious plan to install rooftop solar panels in millions of homes across the country faces challenges in Telangana. Two primary hurdles are hindering the state’s solar program: the Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) policy and the sluggish application process caused by Discom officials.

DCR Policy and Rising Costs

The DCR policy mandates the use of domestically manufactured solar panels for specific projects, including those subsidized by the government. While this policy aims to support domestic manufacturing under the “Make in India” initiative, experts warn it might inflate the cost of renewable energy equipment.

Telangana Solar Energy Association President B Ashok Kumar Goud argues that the DCR policy compels developers to source from local suppliers, potentially increasing the cost of generating renewable electricity. This concern stems from the fact that domestic solar panel production, though growing rapidly, struggles to meet current market demand.

Impact on Rooftop Solar Adoption

The “PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana” offers subsidies to nearly 10 million households in India for installing rooftop solar systems. However, only domestically manufactured solar equipment qualifies for the scheme, potentially limiting its reach due to cost concerns.

Despite the government subsidy (ranging from 30,000 rupees for a 1 kW system to 78,000 rupees for a 3 kW system or higher), the overall installation cost remains a barrier. Ashok Kumar Goud highlights that a 3 kW system can cost around 2 lakh rupees, discouraging potential adopters.

Discom Delays and The Path Forward

Another hurdle identified is the delay in processing applications for rooftop solar installations. Discoms, or power distribution companies, are responsible for issuing technical feasibility approvals. However, a large number of people complain about the lengthy application process, attributing it to the attitude of Discom officials.

While the central government has issued a notification removing Discoms’ authority to grant approvals for systems up to 10 kWh capacity, Telangana has yet to implement it. Additionally, streamlining the approval process, as done by the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (exempting rooftop systems up to 10 kW from feasibility studies), could expedite installations.

Overcoming these challenges requires a multi-pronged approach. Addressing the cost concerns associated with the DCR policy and expediting the application process by Discoms are crucial steps. Implementing central government guidelines regarding approval for smaller capacity systems could also prove beneficial.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the DCR policy?

The Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) policy mandates the use of domestically manufactured solar panels in specific solar projects, aiming to promote domestic manufacturing.

2. How does the DCR policy affect rooftop solar adoption in Telangana?

By limiting suppliers to domestic manufacturers, the DCR policy might increase the cost of solar panels, potentially discouraging potential adopters due to higher installation costs.

3. What are some solutions to expedite rooftop solar installations in Telangana?

Addressing cost concerns associated with the DCR policy and streamlining the application process by Discoms are key. Additionally, implementing central government guidelines for faster approvals of smaller capacity systems could be beneficial.

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