Centre is going to evaluate the technical performance and socio-economic impact of over one lakh solar pumps and more than six lakhs residential solar units installed all over the country during the past five years.

In a notification issued here on Monday, Centre has sought ‘Invitation for Expression of Interest (EOI)’ for conducting technical and performance evaluation and socio-economic impact assessment of solar pumps and solar home lighting systems installed through SNA and NABARD under Off-grid and Decentralised Solar Power Applications Programme.

The idea is to review the performance of the installed solar systems and see if it is really being used by people or just lying idle after installation. Solar systems are designed to perform for at least 25 years and if they are not maintained properly they would not be value for the money.

Solar pumps and solar lighting systems were aimed at to reduce the consumption of diesel of fossil fuels for power generation mainly in areas where direct grid connectivity is not economical. As per the programme, the ministry was providing central financial assistance for deployment of solar pumps and lighting systems. While NABARD is given an assistance of 40 % of the benchmark cost, the state nodal agencies are given 30% central assistance.

The study would help government to strategise future policy for solar energy promotion. Nearly 6,62,777 off grid solar lighting systems and 1,07561 solar pumps have been installed during the past five years through NABARD and SNAs and as of now government has no study available to assess if it has really helped or how much it had helped during the past five years.

Rajasthan had topped in installations of solar pumps with more than 40 % of its share in solar pump (40,907) installations, followed by Chhattisgarh (10,959), Uttar Pradesh (10,287) and Andhra Pradesh (10,006). In Solar home lighting systems, Tamil Nadu has maximum systems (2,22784), followed by Uttar Pradesh (1,03,706), and Jammu and Kashmir (42,236).