Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari has said that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can create nearly 16 GW of rooftop solar capacity by 2022. Meeting 40 percent of the 40 GW target set by India’s Government for rooftop solar installations in the country under the 175 GW Renewable Energy by 2022 target.
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) March 2, 2021
Speaking at a webinar hosted by the State Bank of India (SBI) and the World Bank on ‘Accelerating Adoption of Solar Rooftop by MSME Sector’ the Minister said that “of the 40 GW, four gigawatts to come from the domestic solar rooftop, whereas 16 gigawatts potential can be harnessed from MSMEs. MSME is the most critical sector for advancing the country’s growth.”
India lags behind its intended target of 40 GW, and adoption by MSMEs might give it a much-needed impetus. Gadkari suggested cold-storage units as a viable sector that can adopt rooftop solar and utilise it for their usage instead of paying commercial rates for electricity that reach nearly 10 to 11 rupees per unit.
The World Bank – SBI’s USD 625 million has supported India’s significant Rooftop Solar rollout. Junaid Ahmad, Country Director India, World Bank, addressing the gathering, said that “The World Bank is committed to the cause of MSMEs and an investment in this industry will aid India’s aim to become ‘Atmanirbhar’ or ‘self-reliant’. By facilitating MSMEs to decarbonise their power consumption in a sustainable manner, India can achieve a twin objective of greening the economy and uplifting MSMEs to become highly competitive by reducing its power costs.”
Recently, the Minister had invited MSMEs in India to access concessional debt finance to install rooftop solar systems to improve their business efficiency.
Dinesh Kumar Khara, Chairman, SBI, said, “the idea is to really educate MSMEs about the benefit of adopting solar rooftop and achieving cost-competitiveness. We are thankful to the World Bank for accelerating this initiative and investing in India’s renewable energy journey. It is an investment for building up the economy and the more we invest, the more we will reap the fruits going forward. When it comes to small-ticket loans, co-lending is perhaps the way forward and that is how we would like to support our smaller SMEs.”
While addressing a virtual event, the Minister had said that rooftop solar offers an excellent value proposition to MSMEs by significantly bringing down the cost of electricity consumption, which on average, is up to one-fifth of their overall operations cost. The Minister observed that a large amount (average Rs 8 and higher per unit) is being paid by the MSMEs for power consumption, contributing to up to one-fifth of the overall production costs.
“I believe there is a strong business case for MSMEs to install rooftop solar and achieve significant savings to achieve the cost-competitiveness. I am confident that MSMEs will stand together in generating and consuming solar power using their rooftops,” he said.