We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that the country is in the middle of an unprecedented power crisis. Who can forget a shortage of domestic coal causing a precarious situation at power plants, leading to power cuts and outages in the country. The energy deficit is the most worrying factor in the country.
Amid the crisis, which is anticipated only to worsen in the coming years, a renewed focus has shifted to alternative power sources. And one such technology is the Rooftop solar system. Despite being promising, the Rooftop solar system has remained critically underutilised in India.
Experts call the Rooftop solar power sector as a key to make ‘Power for All’ a reality as it has the potential to take electricity to the furthest corners of the country. However, the country is still far from fully capitalizing on the potential of this sector. Otherwise, the solar power sector is the suitable alternative to light up India, especially the rural pockets where the energy grid is still unreliable and often non-existent.
Remarkably, India, having on an average 300 sunny days, is loaded with enormous solar energy potential. According to the Central Electricity Authority of India, India needs a lot more solar power as part of its plans to get half of its electricity requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030, and ultimately reach net-zero emissions by 2070. Solar now accounts for around 7% of India’s electricity generation at more than 60GW.
It is worth mentioning that Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stressed on ‘Green Growth’ and clean energy transition in her budget speech delivered in the Parliament on February 1, 2023. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) was allocated Rs 10,222 crore, a 48 per cent hike from the previous budget of Rs 7,033 crore.
In the local context, the importance of providing sustainable and affordable energy to the people in Jammu & Kashmir has always missed the focus of our ‘men of vision’. Our need for power has always remained acute and urgent in nature. As far as providing energy to even the poorest of the poor goes, it is only through harnessing hydel-power.
With huge mismatch in demand and supply, this unreliable electricity has remained a visible impediment to doing businesses and a major roadblock in growth of our economy. As per the data available, roughly 45 percent of residences in our state are without electricity.
In harsh winter months, frequent and prolonged power cuts add to the woes of the common man. The people have been braving hardships owing to erratic and unreliable power supply, through some adhoc alternative arrangements. But the costs have tremendously strained their domestic budget. Over 5 lakh workers carving out their livelihood in our cultural industry – the handicrafts sector lose their working hours to rubble because of frequent power cuts.
Under the circumstances when the power crisis remains as an inherent problem, the best answer to these woes lies in solar energy. Generating electricity through the solar system is actually one of the cleanest methods of energy production known so far. The great thing about solar power is that it will be around as long as the Sun is around, and it helps to keep the environment pollution free.
Solar power was once the domain of wealthy owing to the huge costs involved in generating solar energy. But now being solar equipped is an inexpensive affair. Of course, converting to solar power is not a free of cost affair and needs a certain investment. But one doesn’t need to worry on this front. There are eco-friendly, low interest finance schemes in place in banks which one can access to purchase and install solar systems.
J&K Bank in association with Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JAKEDA) is offering a finance facility for individuals to purchase and install Rooftop solar systems to light up their homes. The bank is even offering a finance facility for purchase of solar water pumps.
How Rooftop solar system benefit borrowers?
Immediately it will get you rid of power cuts. It is cheaper than the conventional electric supply and government subsidies also help bring the cost down. Even the maintenance cost is very low. Experts say that most rooftop solar systems have a life expectancy of up to 25 years and require only basic maintenance such as regular cleaning and repairs. You don’t need additional space for installing it as vacant rooftop space is utilised for installing solar panels. Above all, it reduces carbon footprints for being a clean and renewable source of energy.
What is the procedure to obtain the finance facility?
The individuals intending to install solar roof top plants have to approach the JAKEDA as the agency has the responsibility to identify and sponsor the beneficiaries. The agency will forward loan applications, complete in all respects, directly to concerned JK Bank branches along with the quotation providing a detailed breakup of equipment cost, subsidy component and beneficiary share. After the loan is disbursed, the JAKEDA has the responsibility to submit copies of original bills, installation certificate, warranty cards etc to financing branches within a reasonable time.
What is the amount of loan granted under the scheme for installation of solar roof tops?
J&K Bank and Jammu & Kashmir Energy Development Agency JAKEDA have entered into an MoU to promote use of solar roof tops and as per this MoU, bank will be extending loan facility to the tune of Rs 2.60 lacs.
There are certain concessions which the bank shall be giving to the individuals desires of installing Solar Roof Tops. They don’t have to submit a 3rd party guarantee as it has been waived off for all types of borrowers. The borrower is not required to pay any margin and the bank shall be financing the full cost of the project. However, the disbursement of the loan will be made directly to the sponsoring agency. The loan is to be repaid in 36 months.
Who is eligible to avail financial assistance under the scheme?
The scheme, JK Bank Solar Equipment Finance Scheme, is open to all having an assured consistent income. For instance, apart from employees of Government /Semi-Government Departments/Bodies/Agencies & PUBLIC Sector Undertakings, professionals or self-employed individuals / businessmen with seasoned credit facility of more than two years/current account holders(Platinum/Gold/Premium Plus only) are qualified to seek financial assistance under the scheme. Even retired government employees and those engaged in agricultural and allied activities are eligible to seek loan facilities under the scheme.
Can employees of private companies/establishments avail finance under the scheme?
Yes, subject to the condition that they are having a minimum 2 years association with the companies/establishments and maintaining a salary account with the bank.
Is there any subsidy component for borrowers?
Yes, the beneficiaries will get an interest rate concession of 0.50% on applicable rate of interest.
(The views are of the author & not the institution he works for)
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.