Were you aware that a recent study has uncovered that Odisha’s solar potential exceeds MNRE estimates by sevenfold?

Despite being a major coal producer, the eastern state currently lacks a robust renewable energy infrastructure. Nonetheless, the state government is dedicated to reversing this trend through its new renewable energy policy and ambitious initiatives.

In this blog post, we will delve into Odisha’s significant solar energy capacity and delve into the state’s renewable energy policy and subsidy directives.

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The Odisha government does not offer a separate state subsidy to consumers. However, residential consumers from across India can benefit from the Central Financial Assistance (CFA), receiving up to a 40% subsidy on their rooftop solar installations.

To access the subsidy, you can directly apply through the National Portal for Rooftop Solar (www.pmsuryaghar.gov.in) and monitor the entire process from application submission to fund transfer.

The subsidy breakdown is as follows:

  • For capacities ranging from 1kW to 2kW: ₹30,000 per kW
  • For a 3kW capacity: ₹78,000
  • For capacities exceeding 3kW: A fixed subsidy of ₹78,000.

Odisha experiences sunshine for approximately 280-300 days annually, with an average irradiation level ranging from 4.5 to 5.0 kWh/m2/day. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the state boasts a solar potential exceeding 25 GW. However, a recent study conducted by the International Forum for Environment, Sustainability, and Technology (iFOREST) unveils an intriguing revelation.

The report suggests that the actual solar potential of the state is closer to 170 GW when factoring in areas with low ecological significance, such as mining wasteland, industrial wasteland, lands with open scrub and dense scrub, rocky or stony land, among others. Researchers indicate that such areas present excellent opportunities for establishing solar plants and harnessing clean energy.

Furthermore, Odisha is endowed with over 204 reservoirs, with approximately 125 deemed suitable for floating solar projects. Leveraging these locations could potentially add up to 6.7 GW of solar capacity to the state’s energy grid.

Presently, Odisha’s solar capacity stands at around 460 MW. However, the state government is actively working to augment these figures. In June 2023, the Grid Corporation of Odisha (GRIDCO) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NHPC to develop at least 1 GW of solar energy projects within the state.

Additionally, Odisha has introduced an ambitious renewable energy policy aimed at expanding its renewable energy portfolio.

In 2022, the Odisha government unveiled a fresh Renewable Energy Policy with the objective of achieving a 10 GW renewable energy capacity by 2030. The policy primarily emphasizes the advancement of solar and wind energy initiatives.

According to the policy, the state will prioritize the development of floating solar and canal-top solar projects, along with utility-scale solar plants boasting a minimum capacity of 25 MW, and the establishment of solar cities.

To facilitate this endeavor, the state government has implemented several measures, including:

  • Granting a 50p/unit exemption on electricity duty for captive/open access consumers and energy storage projects.
  • Waiving stamp duty on the purchase/lease of land, as well as land conversion charges and registration fees for renewable energy projects.
  • Making vacant government land available for solar projects.
  • Allowing solar park developers to vend the generated power within and beyond the state.
  • Encouraging the local-level promotion of solar cookers, solar water heaters, solar desalination, solar food dryers, and similar technologies.
  • Establishing a new nodal agency to serve as a unified point of contact for all approvals and allocation of renewable energy projects.
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Solar energy provides numerous benefits:

  • Potential for up to 80% reduction in electricity bills
  • Minimal maintenance requirements
  • Long-term solution with a lifespan exceeding 25 years
  • Decreased carbon footprint
  • Availability of a 40% solar subsidy for residential consumers
  • Enhancement of property value
  • Contribution towards India’s objective of achieving net zero emissions

A 1kW rooftop solar plant typically necessitates approximately 100-130 sq. ft of unshaded area. However, with solutions like Synergy Solar InRoof, which integrate solar panels as the primary roof, only about 60-65 sq. ft. of space is required for the same capacity.

Indeed, net metering is available in Odisha.

The period required to recoup your initial investment, commonly referred to as the payback period, fluctuates depending on factors such as the location and size of your plant, electricity expenses, equipment quality, and climate conditions. Typically, it takes approximately 4 to 6 years, on average, to recover your initial investment.

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