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Cabinet approves Continuation of Off-grid and Decentralised Solar PV Applications Programme – Phase III

Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who heads the cabinet committee on economic affairs has given its approval for the execution of Phase-III of Off-grid and Decentralised Solar PV (Photo Voltaic) Application Programme. This programme aims at achieving additional 118 Mega Watt peak (MWp) that is the off-grid solar PV capacity by 2020.

Rooftop Mounted Solar Panels
Rooftop Solar

The components which are to be covered in Phase-III of Off-grid and Decentralised Solar PV Application Programme are defined as under:

  1. Solar Street Lights:

The target is to set up around 3,00,000 number of solar street lights throughout the country. The major emphasis is on the areas and regions where there is no facility for street lighting systems through in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts and the North Eastern States.

  1. Stand-alone Solar Power Plants:

Mostly, the solar power plants of size up to 25 kWp (kiloWatt peak) that too individually will be encouraged in areas where grid power is not reliable or has not yet reached. The component aims at mainly supplying electricity to many useful areas. The solar power plants total capacity would be 100 MWp. The areas where electricity will be provided is panchayats, hostels, schools, police stations and many other public service institutions.

  1. Solar Study Lamps:

The total number of solar study lamps to be provided in LWE affected districts and the North Eastern States is nearly 25,00,000.

Except for NE states, Island UTs and the Hill States, the financial support provided for solar street lights and solar power plants are up to 30% of the benchmark cost of the system. The Hill States, NE states, and Island UTs will get up to 90% of the benchmark cost. Only 15 % of the lamp cost is to be carried by the beneficiary student for solar study lamps. The balance will be given as a financial support and the systems will be provided to all the children who are school-going and live in backward and remote areas.

The total project costs Rs. 1895 crore, which consists of all the three components under the phase-III. Out of the total amount, Rs. 637 crore will be given as central financial assistance.

The off-grid solar systems will provide better livelihood opportunities. These will automatically increase self-employment in these areas, i.e. rural and remote areas beneficiaries. Apart from increasing and providing self-employment, it is also estimated that this execution of Phase-III programme will generate employment opportunities, i.e., equal to 8.67 lakh man-days for unskilled and skilled workers.

This application programme has a very deep impact in the remote and rural areas of the country where there is no scope of grid power to reach. During the programme’s Phase-III, it is expected to benefit nearly 40 lakh rural households. Moreover, the off-grid solar power plants have promised to give electricity to police stations, hotels, schools, and many other public service institutions, which will help other communities at large. This will also help women in their education, livelihood, and social activities.

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