Budget 2019: Just 1 per cent hike in solar sector

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For grid-interactive solar projects, there is a 15 per cent hike to Rs 2,479 crore in 2019-20 over the current fiscal’s revised estimate of Rs 2,157.24 crore, reported Economic Times based on a review of budget documents tabled in Parliament.

On the other hand, the budgetary allocation for off-grid and decentralized solar power is 35 per cent less at Rs 525 crore than the Rs 812 crore estimated for 2018-19.

“The provision of Central Financial Assistance (CFA) will be utilized to add 7.5 GW grid-interactive solar power capacity in 2019-20,” added the daily newspaper, based on the Expenditure Budget document for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

Off-grid and decentralized solar projects fall under the Phase-III solar PV programme, under which 300,000 solar street lights will be installed throughout the nation, and standalone solar PV power plants of individual size up to 25 kWp will be promoted in areas where grid power has not reached or is not reliable. Also, 25 lakh solar study lamps will be provided.

Standalone solar PV power plants will help to provide electricity to schools, hostels, panchayats, police stations and other public service institutions. The aggregated capacity of such solar power plants would be 100 MWp.

In addition, the government plans to install over 3 lakh solar street lights under AJAY Ph-II, and 20 MW of Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) projects in the new fiscal.

Overall, the budget provides Rs 4,960 crore for both grid-interactive and off-grid or decentralized renewable power in 2019-20. This is a marginal 1 per cent increase over Rs 4,903 crore allocated for current fiscal.

The budget for green energy corridors, however, has been increased by 40 per cent to Rs 700 crore from Rs 500 crore for 2018-19.