While rooftop solar power plants are fairly simple affairs, you will still need to get a few approvals.
If you are implementing a large, ground mounted solar power plant, the number of approvals required is much higher.
Red flag! You will be dealing with government agencies to get these permits and approvals – so, be prepared for delays! In fact, the smart way to ensure you as an investor does not waste too much time on such bureaucratic delays is to choose the right installer who knows his way and can get all these done for you.
For your reference, here are the main permits and approvals you require for rooftop and ground mounted solar power plants.
Permits for Rooftop Solar Power Plants
The permitting process for rooftop solar power plants depends on the state in which it is installed, the size of the power plant and the sector your building belongs to (residential, commercial or industrial). Usually the permits required are two-fold:
- Electrical Permits: Usually the electrical permits for rooftop solar power plants involve three stages: feasibility analysis, registration and connectivity.
- The consumer will have to submit an application to the power distribution company (discom) along with an application fee.
- The discom then decides whether to permit the connection for the applied capacity. Based on the recommended capacities from the discom, the customer will register for the solar power plant along with requisite documents and registration charges. This can be usually done by filling out forms at the electricity board or doing them online. This stage will also include the permits required for setting up the Net Metering facility, provided you are eligible for it.
- Post the registration process, the connection agreement will be signed between the customer and the discom.
- The connection agreement should clearly specify the financial arrangement for excess units exported to the grid in case of net metering and other specifics.
- Post the installation of the solar power plant, the discom officials will test and evaluate the standard compliance of the rooftop plant before sanctioning the project.
- Building Permits: In states where building permits are needed, the rooftop owner contacts the relevant state building officer. The inspector will visit the site, review the plans and issue the building permit on-site. This is usually not applicable for residential customers.
Permits for Ground-mounted Solar Power Plants
Similar to the case of rooftop solar power plants, the permitting process for ground-mounted solar projects too depends on the state in which it is installed. In addition to the general registration processes common to all types of solar power plants, the following additional types of approvals are usually needed for ground mounted solar power plants:
- Power evacuation permission letter from the discom – This is made available after a feasibility analysis from the local substation to ensure that the grid can support the power levels from the solar plant
- Land conversion certificate – In many states, such a certificate is needed for conversion from agricultural to non-agricultural purposes.
- Contract labour license from labour department
- Approval for sewage treatment plants
- Environmental clearance from pollution control board
- Fire safety certificate from fire department
- Clearance from forest department
- Approval from Chief Electrical Inspector for commissioning of the project
- Approval from MNRE for tax exemptions for the power project