Government Launches Star Labelling Program for Solar Modules

The star ratings will indicate the modules’ quality and energy efficiency


The Indian government has initiated a Standards and Labelling Program for solar modules to indicate their quality and energy efficiency.

The program, developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), will be in force from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2025.

The first two years of the program will be voluntary. The government said it would be made mandatory subsequently.

To register, manufacturers must deposit a security fee of ₹100,000 (~$1,203) for each model, but small-scale industries can secure registration with a valid certificate and a reduced security fee of ₹25,000 (~$300). An application fee of ₹2,000 (~$24) must be paid to affix the label on a specific model. Renewal applications incur no additional charges.

Solar modules are graded on a scale from 1 to 5 stars, and the labeling fee to affix these stars on each unit of a module is ₹0.02(~$0.00024)/watt. However, the government will recognize and reward excellence by waiving labeling fees for 4 and 5-star-rated solar modules until December 31, 2025.

star rating

Source: Bureau of Energy Efficiency

This program carries a significant potential for positive environmental impact. According to the government, raising solar module efficiency by an estimated 2% from current levels, an additional 33 GWh of electricity generation is anticipated annually.

According to Union Power Minister R.K. Singh, star labeling of solar modules will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 million tons annually by 2030.

The government said consumers transitioning from lower-rated modules to higher-rated ones stand to gain significantly. For instance, moving from a 1-Star to a 2-Star solar module on a typical 10-square-meter roof area is expected to yield around 12% additional electricity generation. The transition can be even more rewarding, with increases ranging from 29% to 35% when upgrading from a 1-Star module to a 4-Star or 5-Star module, the government stated.

Benefits of star ratingSource: Bureau of Energy Efficiency

Sampling process

BEE or its designated agency will select samples randomly from the market. This randomness ensures that various batches and models of modules are assessed without any bias. A second check testing will be initiated if this initial sample fails to meet the required standards. Two additional samples from the market will be randomly selected for the second check testing.

If even one of the samples selected during the second check testing fails to meet the standards, the module will be deemed non-compliant with the prescribed BEE standards. In the event of non-compliance, the manufacturer must submit a fresh application with derated effective efficiency for the failed module.

Testing will be conducted in laboratories accredited by the Bureau of Indian Standards or the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories.

The government’s vision is to promote solar modules that are not only of the highest quality but are also entirely “Made in India.” This comprehensive plan includes policies to encourage domestic manufacturing of solar cells and wafers. The goal is to achieve solar modules that are 100% domestically produced and of the highest quality. By gradually eliminating less efficient modules and outdated models from the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM), India is striving for excellence in solar module manufacturing.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy recently reiterated that action will be taken against companies violating the domestic content requirement provisions prescribing domestically manufactured solar cells and modules, wherever the World Trade Organization permits.