MNRE Allows Solar Mini Grid Installations for Tribal Habitations

The program aims to provide clean and reliable electricity to underserved communities


The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has amended the guidelines for the implementation of the solar power program for particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) habitations/villages under the Prime Minister’s Jan Shakti Nidhi (PM JANMAN) initiative.

The government had approved the ₹5.15 billion (~$61.9 million) program in January this year, aiming to provide clean and reliable electricity to underserved PVTG communities by installing solar mini-grids.

The amendments seek to enhance the program’s effectiveness and reach.

Expansion of Electrification Scope

Previously, the program focused solely on providing solar home lighting systems (SHLS) to individual households within PVTG habitations.

However, recognizing the demand for broader electrification and improved access to power, the amended provision now allows for installing solar mini-grids to electrify clusters of households.

Under the amended provision, a solar mini-grid comprising components such as battery banks, distribution lines, metering, and control equipment can now be deployed instead of individual SHLS installations.

Each unelectrified household covered under the mini-grid will receive financial support of up to ₹50,000 (~$600) from MNRE.

Flexibility in Implementation Modes

Another notable amendment pertains to the mode of implementation for solar mini-grid projects. Previously, only the Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) mode was specified for installing mini-grids, with MNRE providing financial support capped at ₹50,000 (~$600) per household.

However, the revised guidelines now introduce flexibility by allowing both Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and RESCO modes for mini-grid deployment.

In both CAPEX and RESCO modes, MNRE will continue to provide the same financial support to households, ensuring equitable access to subsidized solar power solutions.

Additionally, in the CAPEX mode, implementing agencies can secure additional funding, if necessary, from the respective state governments. This amendment offers more options for implementing agencies, enabling them to choose the most suitable approach based on local conditions and resources.

MNRE recently announced that the President of India has approved the PM-Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana, with a budget of ₹750.21 billion (~$9 billion). The ministry also issued a breakdown of central financial assistance for residential houses, group housing societies, and residential welfare associations.