Gujarat’s initiatives to boost the renewable energy sector might change the scenario by which the state uses energy

The recent change in Gujarat’s Solar Policy allows MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) to install projects that are more than 100% of their sanctioned load.

This is a welcome change as opposed to the earlier allowance of only 50% of the sanctioned load for commercial and industrial clients. Vijay Rupani, Gujarat’s Chief Minister, and Nitin Patel, Gujarat’s Deputy Chief Minister announced the changes in ‘Gujarat Solar Power Policy – 2015’ with an intent that the MSME sector can reap the benefits of solar energy. The changes done will help the MSMEs to set up larger rooftop solar and open access projects, helping them to reduce power costs and enabling them to procure solar energy from third parties. 

Currently, MSMEs pay ₹8 per unit for electricity consumption, the policy update benefits the MSME sector by earning them a profit of ₹3.80. Further, the firms will make a profit of ₹3.80 per unit if the energy is produced on their own land, and in the case of leased land, the profit made will be ₹2.75. Another profit that entails with this change is that the MSMEs will be able to purchase solar energy from third parties too, and will be able to sell excess solar energy to the State Government at a cost of ₹1.75 per unit. Sarabh Patel, Gujarat’s Energy minister said that the government has made the necessary changes in the policy to ensure its outreach and accessibility for production. The government also made it clear that electricity duty and wheeling charges shall have to be paid by the MSME units as per the electricity norms. An official statement said that the above changes will encourage 33 lakh MSME units towards production and use of green and clean energy. 

Gujarat Government’s Rooftop Solar Power Scheme aims to cover 2 lakh households by 31st March 2020. Under this scheme people can install solar panels for electricity generation on their rooftops, and the surplus energy generated can be sold to the power grid. Under the scheme, households were provided with 40% subsidy from the government for 2kW capacity and 20% subsidy for 3kW to 10kW capacity systems. The subsidy is extended to housing societies and residential welfare associations for installing rooftop systems for powering common amenities such as water pumps and lights in common areas. The procurement of the solar rooftop systems can be done from any of the 450 firms listed by the government. By 2022, Gujarat has decided to cover 8 lakh households under the solar rooftop policy. 

The change in the ‘Gujarat Solar Power Policy – 2015’ will boost the rooftop solar segment which has already been growing at a brisk pace.

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