Central to the budget's green initiatives is the ambitious rooftop solarisation program, poised to illuminate the lives of 1 crore (10 million) Indian households. This program, part of the visionary Pradhan Mantri Suryoday Yojana, would enable the beneficiaries to obtain up to 300 units of free electricity every month through rooftop solarisation. This translates to benefits of Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 18,000 annually from free solar electricity and selling the surplus to the distribution companies. This bold move not only underscores the government's dedication to renewable energy but also aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a sustainable future, a vision that found resonance on the historic day of the Ram Mandir's consecration in Ayodhya 22 Jan on 2024.
This scheme announced in the budget brings additional benefits. It creates new business opportunities for vendors in the solar system market. This would also add to job creation especially for the youth in the country with technical skills in making, installing, and maintaining these systems.
India's Rooftop Solar Growth: Aiming for 40 GW by 2030
India's rooftop solar capacity has increased to 2.7 GW since 2016. The solar rooftop Programme Phase-II, launched in 2019, aims to boost this capacity to 40 GW. The Pradhan Mantri Suryoday Yojana (PMSY) is expected to further accelerate solar energy adoption. Slow growth in rooftop solar is attributed to lack of public awareness and limited financing options.
Vikas Agarwal, Co-Founder of Credit Fair, highlights the need for government support to enhance rooftop solar demand and usage. Credit Fair provides loans for rooftop solar installations at 8-10% interest rates and offers no-cost EMIs.
The government's goal is to produce 40 GW of solar power annually over the next 5 years, aiming for a total of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel power by 2030. Mallikarjun Kharge, President of the Indian National Congress, notes that only 2.2 GW of the 40 GW annual targets has been installed in homes, leaving about 70% of the goal unachieved.
Overview of Renewable Energy in the 2024 Budget:
Solar Power Boost:
- Funding for grid-based solar power increased to Rs 10,000 crore in Budget 2024-25, up from Rs 4,757 crore.
- The solar rooftop program aims to provide 10 million households with up to 300 units of free electricity monthly.
- Households can save Rs 15,000-18,000 annually through free electricity and selling excess power.
- Wind power funding remains stable at around Rs 930 crore.
- New viability gap funding introduced for up to 1 GW of offshore wind energy.
- India's first tender for offshore wind energy projects was launched last year.
- By 2030, plans to establish coal gasification and liquefaction with a capacity of 100 tonnes.
- Coal gasification and liquefaction can create cleaner fuel from coal.
- The Union Cabinet approved Rs 8,500 crore in incentives for coal gasification projects in January 2024.
Green Hydrogen Initiative:
- The budget for the National Green Hydrogen Mission increased to Rs 600 crore from Rs 100 crore.
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