Centre, Maharashtra To Boost Solar & EVs Under PM Suryoday Scheme

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The Solar2EV Project for Social Justice aims to facilitate the registration of 200,000 electric vehicles in Maharashtra by leveraging solar energy.

The Maharashtra and central governments have initiated a joint pilot project called the Solar2EV Project for Social Justice. This project aims to expand the reach of the PM Suryodaya Yojana, which targets the installation of 10 million rooftop solar panels. The Maharashtra Department of Social Justice and Special Assistance and the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment plan to register an additional 200,000 vehicles in the state by the end of 2025. These vehicles include electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers, golf carts, light electric trucks, and fleet passenger EVs, all integrated with solar power.

In the pilot phase, the Solar2EV project aims to generate demand for 100,000 electric two-wheelers, 70,000 electric three-wheelers, and 30,000 passenger EVs by the end of 2025. The project seeks to achieve this through partnerships with last-mile logistics, mobility service providers, and non-banking financial corporations to support ongoing schemes.

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The central ministry plans to allocate funds from its 14,500-crore budget for this purpose. The project will collaborate with mobility operators to provide employment opportunities for economically and socially challenged youth and offer disadvantaged communities a respectful existence.

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ramdas Athawale, chaired a stakeholder meeting to discuss funding for EV charging stations. The Maharashtra government has offered to finance these vehicles from its state budget, which supports welfare measures through five corporations. These corporations will identify and share the total demand for the vehicles with OEMs, potentially leading to government-corporate rates for purchases.

The Solar2EV Project for Social Justice also aims to support disadvantaged youth and persons with disabilities by funding battery swapping stations, EV dealerships, and electric two- and three-wheelers through the state’s various schemes.

Athawale highlighted the expansion of PM Suryodaya Yojna’s focus to include electric mobility and solar power as part of the prime minister’s plan to decarbonize the economy and move towards a net-zero target. He emphasized the potential benefits of electric mobility and a solar economy for weaker sections and deprived communities. Disadvantaged groups are expected to become significant consumers of EVs and solar energy systems, aided by India’s green energy transition and the government’s 10,000 crore support for solar subsidies.

Pravin More, Assistant Private Secretary to the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, mentioned that Solar2EV is planned to be launched by the first half of 2024 as a social engineering product. It aims to provide educated but disadvantaged and unemployed youth with opportunities such as owning a Tata Xpres-T EV through state government funding for social welfare schemes.

Om Prakash Bakoria, Maharashtra Social Justice and Welfare Commissioner praised Athawale’s efforts and emphasized the state’s readiness to embrace electric mobility through the Solar2EV Project for Social Justice.

The project has been welcomed by stakeholders, including battery manufacturers and solar industry representatives. For example, Pune-based SunLit Power plans to invest over 100 crore in a battery production facility in Maharashtra, creating employment opportunities for economically weaker sections and women. Representatives from Tata Motors, Hop Electric, Omega Seiki Mobility, and Reliance New Energy attended the stakeholder meeting and expressed support for the initiative. They highlighted the potential for increased demand for electric vehicles, new avenues for EV makers, and the integration of electric mobility with solar power.

Reliance New Energy emphasized the benefits of battery swapping as a solution for energy-as-a-service for mobility and home-use customers. This approach is seen as a promising way to address range anxiety and improve the convenience of charging in dense cities and remote areas.

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Aryaman Raghuvanshi
Aryaman Raghuvanshi
Aryaman Raghuvanshi is a Journalist at EFY. His passion is to explore the future of mobility, which gets him to cover latest technologies shaping the future of automobiles and EVs. But, at times he writes on broader technologies too. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aryaman-raghuvanshi-2431b7153

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