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MNRE Introduces Subsidy Scheme For Solar Projects
 
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MNRE Introduces Subsidy Scheme For Solar Projects  
 
The ministry extends financial incentives in the form of capital and interest subsidy on loans, which can be availed from financial institutions by the target clientele.   
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Friday, December 03, 2010 With an aim to promote off-grid applications of solar energy, both photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal, and to create a paradigm shift that is needed to commercialise off-grid solar applications, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, has introduced a subsidy linked credit scheme and extended financial incentives in the form of capital and interest subsidy on loans, which can be availed from financial institutions by the target clientele.

Capital Subsidy,Solar Projects




With over 300 clear sunny days available annually in India, there is a huge potential to tap, store and retrieve solar power, much more than the current power requirements. However, the actual exploitation of solar power to meet the energy requirements of the country is insignificant when compared to other energy resources. Also, the use of solar-powered systems and devises have remained under-utilised mainly due to high unit costs.

The government is, therefore, taking several initiatives to address this challenge, and provide a framework for expanding solar energy markets by bringing down the costs. One such initiative is this scheme—Capital Subsidy-cum-Refinance Scheme, which provides for routing the capital subsidy and the interest subsidy on bank loans availed by the clients through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). This scheme is being introduced to enable commercial as well as government banks to draw refinance from NABARD and avail financial resources including subsidies on behalf of their borrowers.

Scope of the scheme
The currency of the scheme will be co-terminus with phase-I (initially up to March
2013) of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, and will cover projects specifically approved by the project approval committee (PAC) of MNRE. MNRE, in consultations with IREDA and NABARD, has finalised 11 model projects eligible for financing by the banks.

Capital subsidy
The quantum of capital subsidy and refinance would be made available as per the specifications of MNRE/ IREDA from time to time. Currently, the capital subsidy would be to the extent of 30 per cent of the benchmark cost. For 2010-11, the benchmark price for PV with battery backup is considered as 300 per watt peak (Wp). For systems which do not use storage battery such as water pumping systems, the installed PV system cost would be considered subject to a cap of 210 per Wp.

Loan period & rate of interest
Borrowers are required to bring in 20 per cent of the cost of the project as the margin money for accessing credit facilities from banks to acquire the assets. Loans would cover the balance after reducing the eligible capital subsidy, and would be extended with a repayment period not exceeding five years. It would carry an interest rate of 5 per cent per annum. No interest will, however, be charged by the financing banks on the capital subsidy component.

--Srabani Sen



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