Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Friday launched the Chief Minister’s Solar Mission at the State Convention Centre, Shillong, in the presence of Power Minister Abu Taher Mondal and Chairman of MNREDA Rupert Momin.
Addressing the occasion, Sangma said, "The CM Solar Mission will be a flagship Renewable Energy intervention which is a people-centric scheme with the poorest of the poor as the target beneficiary but at the same time diverse options are available on table for every strata of the society.
"With a commitment to fostering green and clean energy transformation, substantial subsidies along with back-end bank financing will be available such that beneficiaries will have to foot a miniscule financial burden at the time of availing the benefit.
"Also the loan component will be soft loans with EMI comparable or lesser than a small household monthly electricity bill. The Govt subsidy will range from 70 % for individual households to 50 per cent subsidy for schools, hospitals, hotels and other commercial entities.”
He said that the mission represents a paradigm shift by blending cutting-edge technology with innovative financing models.
"We want to popularise Renewable Energy to address current challenges. We have to tap into what is available so abundantly and for free, the sun light. In order to achieve this we have worked out a financial model in which a beneficiary has to pay only 10 % of the cost of the equipment at the time of availing the scheme.
“We are carving a distinct path from past efforts. Our approach is multi-faceted and dynamic, focusing not only on technological solutions but also on real-world problem-solving. Our interventions always focused on technology but missed out on the larger picture which is the actual utility to individuals and how it solves the day-to-day problems faced by the common man." he said.
Sangma also informed that the Government of Meghalaya will earmark investment of Rs 100 crore annually for the solar mission initially and once the program gains momentum, we will attract and invite more partners to diversify the portfolio of funding. This can come from corporate social responsibility (CSR) or carbon credits or investments by like-minded organisations from across the world.
“At the core of our strategy is the adoption of hybrid solar inverter technology. We firmly believe that this technology will prove to be a game-changer, driving us closer to the sustainable future we have envision”, he added. The hybrid solar inverter has the flexibility of charging through conventional residential power connection as well as Solar power,” he said.
He added, “The unit will preferably charge from Solar energy and switch to normal grid connectivity for charging only when there is inadequate sunlight. The technology is such that it can charge even on cloudy days. This way the technology can significantly reduce the electricity bill of every home. Infact, the higher capacity hybrid solar inverter system can turn your house as a net power generator which can be fed to a local grid and then the national grid through net metering such that someday we can achieve an installed capacity equal to the current installed capacity of the State."
Terming that the launch of the CM Solar Mission marks a significant stride forward in the Government's journey towards tackling power challenges, he said, “While it may not completely eradicate all issues, we envision a scenario where 30 to 40% of households are equipped with these solar units. Such homes would gain independence from the conventional grid, boasting 8 to 9 hours of backup during load shedding”.
Sangma also stated that the education sector and larger institutions stand to benefit significantly from this scheme.
Highlighting the project's broader implications, the chief minister also stated that this endeavour also paves the way for a greener economy.
“We are proud to announce the imminent establishment of LED assembling units across our state. This homegrown production initiative not only generates employment opportunities for our youth but also advances our self-reliance. Additionally, discussions with battery manufacturers are underway to establish battery production and maintenance facilities within Meghalaya. This strategic move aims to minimize challenges associated with battery replacement and maintenance, further solidifying our commitment to sustainability”, he added.
“The CM Solar Mission is not just about addressing power deficits; it's about ushering in a new era of resilience, independence, and green progress for Meghalaya."
Notable highlights of the CM Solar Mission include:
1. Subsidized Solar Hybrid Inverters and Solar Water Heaters for all citizens, ensuring access to sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives.
2. A range of solar inverter capacities, from 500 VA to 40 kVA, tailored to meet the energy needs of households, institutions, and businesses.
3. Integration of solar systems with the main grid through net metering, transforming homes into power sources and reducing electricity bills.
4. Subsidized solar water heaters to provide hot water without relying on electricity, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.
At the launch, Power Minister AT Mondal also spoke and credited the Chief Minister for the initiative that would benefit the people of the State. He also highlighted problems related to power as Meghalaya largely depends on hydropower for the generation of electricity.
Others who spoke on the occasion included MNREDA chairman Rupert Momin and Power Department secretary Joram Beda.