A parliamentary panel has attributed low installation of solar roof-top and wind energy projects as key reasons for the shortfall in achieving India's renewable energy capacity target of 175 GW by 2022. India set an ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022, which included 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power.
However, a renewable energy capacity of 120.90 GW has been installed in the country as of 31st December 2022 which is about 69 per cent of the overall target, the Standing Committee on Energy said in a report. "Keeping in view the fact that renewable energy installed capacity has increased by more than 236 per cent since 2014, this is indeed a commendable achievement. However, it should also be mentioned that whatever shortfall has occurred in achievement of the target that is because of low installation of solar roof-tops and wind energy projects," the committee said.
Keeping in view India's commitment to increase our non-fossil fuel based energy capacity to 500 GW by the year 2030, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy must ramp up its pace for timely achievement of targets, it suggested. A strict timeline should be imposed for approvals/rejection of applications, installation of net-meter, inspection of the system, etc. by the discoms and reasons should mandatorily be provided by them in case of rejection of application on the national portal, the committee said.
Discoms may be incentivized so that their apprehensions regarding losing their high-paying consumers because of the installation of solar rooftops are addressed and they positively participate in the programme. The Ministry should also monitor the implementation of the rooftop solar and wind energy projects and ensure adherence to the prescribed timeline for their commissioning so that renewable energy projects do not get unduly delayed.
Against the overall target of 40 GW, only 7.40 GW of rooftop solar projects could be installed in the country, the committee said adding it has been flagging the issues responsible for deficient performance under the solar rooftop programme like non-availability of information at the grass root level, lack of awareness about this scheme amongst the masses, apathy of discoms, among others.
As of February 27, 2023, 43,171 number of applications were received on the National Portal, of which 18437 applications have been approved by DISCOMs, 3031 applications have been rejected on technical grounds and approval is pending for 21,703 applications.
It further said that against the overall target of 60 GW, the cumulative installed capacity of wind power is 41.93 GW as on December 31, 2022. There is not even mention of wind energy in the subjects allocated to the MNRE. The committee further noted that MNRE had projected the budgetary requirement of Rs 10,422.54 crore for the financial year 2023-24 and Rs 10,222 crore has actually been allocated with an increase of about 45 per cent against Revised Estimates of the last year.
"Since the Budgetary Estimates of the Ministry for 2023-24 has been considerably enhanced as compared to the previous years, the committee recommends that the ministry (MNRE) should increase its fund absorption capacity and focus on exhaustive utilization of the budgetary allocation," the report said.