MNRE Sets Guidelines for Solar Modules and Inverters under PM Surya Ghar

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has released a framework for the enlistment of solar photovoltaic modules and inverters under the PM-Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana to assist consumers in making informed choices when selecting high-efficiency products with better warranties for their rooftop solar installations.

The ministry said it has prescribed minimum technical standards for various components of rooftop solar installations to ensure quality. The average consumer may find it challenging to understand the technical specifications of key components like modules and inverters, which make up over 50% of the total system cost.

It said it was important to assist the consumers by providing some confidence in high-performance models of original equipment manufacturers.

With an outlay of ₹750 billion (~$9.04 billion), the program aims to increase residential rooftop solar capacity and empower households to generate electricity until 2026-27. The program has set a goal of installing rooftop solar projects in 10 million households.

Solar Modules

Solar modules must have a minimum 3-star rating under the Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s (BEE) Star Labelling Programme for Solar Modules notified late last year.

The modules will also need a rated capacity of at least 500 W and a product warranty of at least ten years from the date of commissioning, covering manufacturing defects. The minimum fill factor, which refers to the module’s real-world power output to its theoretical maximum potential, must be 77% under standard test conditions.

Inverters

Inverters must qualify under the BEE’s Energy Labelling Program for Inverters and have a product warranty of at least eight years from the date of commissioning, also covering manufacturing defects.

The minimum overall efficiency for hybrid inverters to be enlisted ranges from 92% for 1 kW inverters, 93% for 1-3 kW, 95% for 3-5 kW, 96% for 5-10 kW, and 97% for 10-20 kW inverters. As the power rating increases, so does the efficiency requirement.

The National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) will be the nodal agency for enlistment. The enlistment, however, is voluntary, and installations using non-enlisted models will still be eligible for subsidies under the program, provided they comply with the guidelines.

NISE will conduct sample selection and testing at no cost to the manufacturers, with MNRE reimbursing testing fees and administrative costs. The enlisted models that meet the eligibility criteria will be displayed on the National Portal, providing consumers with information to guide their purchasing decisions.

The National Portal, however, has been plagued by bugs and glitches, making it difficult to track the progress of applications or obtain approvals.


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