Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, unveiled a series of far-reaching reforms at the Union Budget 2020. As per the announcements, PM-KUSUM would be expanded and 20 lakh farmers would be provided for setting up stand-alone solar pumps. Another 15 lakh farmers would be helped to solarise their grid-connected pump sets. This scheme would enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their fallow/barren lands and to sell it to the grid. Large solar power capacity would be set up alongside rail tracks, on land owned by railways.
Besides reforms in solar energy sector, allocation for environment and climate change would be Rs.4400 crore for 2020-21. Talking about the budget, Gagan Vermani, Founder & CEO, MYSUN – India’s largest online rooftop solar company said, Budget 2020 was a mixed bag for the Solar Sector. To boost generation and use of power, the government has brought institutional changes in some schemes. It expanded the ‘PM Kusum Scheme’ to 20 lac farmers to set up grid-connected solar farms on barren lands making ‘Annadata an Urjadata’. The setting up of grid-connected solar farms on barren lands would reduce the dependence on thermal and other non-renewable resources. Further, the setting up of large solar-powered capacity alongside rail tracks is in line with the idea of Green India.
The thrust on the integration of smart meters is good for the end-users and would push Discoms to provide better services at competitive prices. The 22,000 Cr is kept for the power and renewable sector, but the bigger question will be where and how that will be utilised. The key highlight was the Government admitting the distressed situations of the DISCOMs and assuring to work with them, which may relax sudden change of policies in key aspects like Net Metering.
The FM did leave a grey area when it comes to custom duties on imports and it will be a game of wait and watch there. The government’s pro-environment approach is visible with its stress on the ‘clean air scheme’. The abolition of the dividend distribution tax will encourage further investments in the renewable energy sector.”
Sanjeev Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Amplus Solar, added, “The overall impetus on long term reforms in the power sector is very encouraging and it was noteworthy to note that India stands committed to its international sustainability commitments.
The focus on bringing down the commercial losses in the distribution companies by mandating prepaid meters, coupled with the consumers having the ‘choice of suppliers’ will surely resolve the long term viability issues of the power sector and lead to a vibrant electricity market. The usage of solar in the railways and farming and usage of farmlands for solar plants will open up new entrepreneurial opportunities and will help in faster adoption of solar energy across the country.
We are also encouraged by the support extended to NBFCs and infrastructure funds that can improve much needed liquidity. Also, the slew of tax incentives offered to foreign investors for investments in priority sectors will boost inwards equity flow in the infrastructure sectors.” *said Sanjeev Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Amplus Solar*
Ranganath N. K, Area Managing Director, INDO Region, Grundfos said, “We welcome this year’s budget which sharply focusses on issues that propels the growth of aspirational India. Addressing the challenges of severe water stress in the nation as one of its top most agenda, this budget gets to the bottom of things by proposing comprehensive measures for 100 water-stressed areas. Given that the budget also aims to empower famers by increasing their dependence on off-grid solutions with solarised grid-connected pumps through the PM Kusum Scheme, I think that this will act as a catalyst to sustainable irrigation solutions across the country. This abundant allocation in agriculture is likely to positively rural development.”
He also added, “We are greatly excited to see the budget allocation for Jal Jeevan Mission. Also the foreseen investment in the renewable energy sector will enable the government to achieve its national action plan on climate change.”