India’s rooftop solar power program has received a much-needed boost even as sector experts believe that the target of 40 GW installed capacity by 2022 looks extremely ambitious.
Officials of the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) recently announced that the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the newly-founded BRICS development bank will provide $500 million each for development of rooftop solar power projects in the country.
The funds will be used for providing a 30% subsidy to public institutions that set up rooftop solar power systems. Individuals or entities not eligible for this subsidy may also be able to source low-cost debt finance from these funds.
India has set a target to have 100 GW of solar power capacity operational by April 2022; this includes a target of 40 GW for rooftop solar power systems. Rooftop solar power capacity represents just 10% of the 5 GW solar power capacity currently operational in India. Increasing the capacity to 40 GW in about 75 months will be a gargantuan task.
The government has taken initiatives to boost development of the sector. The Cabinet of Ministers recently approved a proposal that will increase the subsidy for rooftop solar power systems to $770 million by 2022, which is expected to be in addition to the debt funds raised from international development banks.
Thankfully, both project developers and consumers are now looking to increase their presence in the rooftop solar power market. A subsidiary of Azure Power, one of the largest solar power project developers in India, recently secured $20 million from Overseas Private Investment Corporation to develop 19 MW of rooftop solar power capacity. SunEdison is also working in several states in India to set up rooftop and off-grid solar power systems. The US-based project developer has also set up a number of rooftop solar power projects for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
A number of state governments are also working on policies to mandate implementation of rooftop solar power systems on government-buildings as well as all newly developed buildings.