Rooftop Solar In India Grew 66% In Last Year

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The Bridge to India Market Outlook report states this nation’s new installations of rooftop solar in India has grown by a factor of 66% over the last year.

Earlier this month, India’s minister for new and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal, announced the country’s rooftop solar policy was ready to be placed before the union cabinet. This ambitious renewable energy policy lays out yearly targets for reaching 40 GW of rooftop solar capacity.

Goval made these points concerning a rooftop solar policy:

  • The Indian rooftop solar market grew 66% in the last 12 months without any specific rooftop solar policy initiatives
  • A new rooftop policy is likely to consolidate and detail out already known aspects such as yearly targets, changes in capital subsidy scheme and schemes for low cost financing
  • If the new policy does not introduce mandatory rooftop solar installations for buildings, the policy release will likely be a non-event

India girls shutterstock_124952438Even though there is no draft policy document in the public domain, we believe that the new policy will consolidate and bring all disparate fiscal and operational support measures for the market under one comprehensive framework including:

  • steep expansion in yearly targets (refer),
  • 15% capital subsidy for residential consumers and public buildings (refer) and
  • low cost financing using funds from international developmental banks (refer).

Other benefits such as zero import duties on equipment and accelerated depreciation benefits (available until March, 2017) are likely to continue.

November 2014 – October 2015

During this one-year period India added 240 MW of rooftop solar capacity against 145 MW for the same period a year earlier. This represented a growth rate of 66% despite a largely non-functional rooftop specific policy framework.

The report added it is not possible to underpin the 40 GW rooftop target on fiscal support measures such as subsidies, feed-in-tariffs or generation based incentives: “The role of rooftop policy in our view should be to accelerate adoption rates by enabling various technical and operational measures as the market has extremely strong fundamentals with increasing commercial attractiveness vs. grid power.”

Plan for the future: compulsory net metering?

When the cabinet passed a 100 GW target in June 2015, making net-metering compulsory by incorporating measures in the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) was considered, along with numerous other actions, including:

  • incorporating changes in land use regulations and tenancy laws to facilitate aggregation and leasing of land by farmers/ developers for solar projects
  • identification of large chunks of land for solar projects
  • identification of large government complexes/ buildings for rooftop projects
  • clear survey of wastelands and identification of transmission/ road infrastructure using satellite technology for locating solar parks
  • development of power transmission network/ Green Energy Corridor
  • setting up of exclusive parks for domestic manufacturing of solar PV modules
  • provision of roof top solar and 10 percent renewable energy as mandatory reform under the new scheme of Ministry of Urban Development
  • amendments in building bye-laws for mandatory provision of roof top solar for new construction or higher FAR
  • considering infrastructure status for solar projects; raising tax free solar bonds; providing long tenor loans; making roof top solar a part of housing loan by banks/ NHB and extending IIFCL credit facility to such projects by the Department of Financial Services
  • suitable amendments to the Electricity Act for strong enforcement of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) and for providing Renewable Generation Obligation (RGO)
  • incorporating measures in Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for encouraging distribution companies and making net-metering compulsory

Further action on compulsory net-metering by power distribution companies and mandates on building owners to install rooftop solar can provide a significant fillip to the market. Given that most of the other initiatives have already been announced, “if the rooftop solar policy fails to elaborate on such new measures, its release will largely be a non-event.”

Given the noticeable growth of rooftop solar in India taking place over the past year, the program will be very difficult to regard as a disappointment.

Photo: Unidentified Indian girls via Shutterstock

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Glenn Meyers

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

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10 thoughts on “Rooftop Solar In India Grew 66% In Last Year

  • When governments set policies for faster adoption of change, change can happen so much faster.

  • Surley, these women are not happy because rooftop solar increased by 2/3rds:-)

    • If you’re an Indian woman stuck at home with an unreliable grid you’d probably happy up knowing you could keep your fan/AC running on hot Indian afternoons.

      But those women do look wedding party happy….

      • They are women from the Bhil tribe in the northeastern state of Rajasthan. They are dressed to do the traditional Ghoomar dance.

        I was born in the US but my heritage is Desi. I go to India to visit distant relatives every 4-5 years. They are the aspiring middle to upper middle class and live is mid-size to small towns that receive intermittent electricity with power cuts of 2-4 hours per day (usually midday).

        For them, having rooftop solar to either supplement the grid or eventually become fully grid independent would be a game changer. They have very little confidence in government services (electricity distribution is dominated by PSUs) and would pay extra to have a reliable supply.

        • Were your relatives considering solar the last time you were there? They sound like the perfect market for rooftop solar and a few hour’s worth of batteries.

          • The infrastructure is not built out yet so there is no SolarCity equivalent that they can call to finance and install panels. Otherwise they would be the ideal customers for rooftop solar.

          • India has so many people with an entrepreneurial spirit. One would think this would take off

  • The capital subsidies would be a waste of money unless Delhi miraculously devises some way of delivering them efficiently. Net metering will do the job – though as we have seen in the USA, power utilities will soon cry foul and campaign for removing it.

    • I hear you, but it sounds like they can use all the help they can get, right when solar is producing best, and, right where the load is at.

  • With solar power at $ 1 / watt of installed capacity, its lot cheaper than coal fired power using imported coal .

    Importing coal and oil is a big waste of money, investing one time in solar power provides cleaner power and also encourages more people to use solar power.

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