India's Rooftop Solar Market - High On Opportunities And Loaded With Challenges : Intersolar
Net metering was introduced in India as a measure to make rooftop solar more accessible and economical for electricity consumers. However, implementation across many states have been slow due to various challenges, more particularly DISCOMS fear of losing premier C&I customers. The rooftop capacity therefore has barely crossed 2.5% of the 40% of the national solar target. However, the segment is expected to pick up momentum with the launch of the “Sustainable Rooftop Implementation for Solar Transfiguration of India “(SRISTI) scheme which addresses DISCOM's concerns.
With electrically powered gadgets becoming an essential part of everyone’s life universal access to electricity has become a necessity as never before in India. Simultaneously power prices are rising and more and more cities are choking alarmingly with pollution. Clean solar energy has the great advantage of being put to use both as a small decentralized power generator of few tens of watts and as a centralized mega centralized power plants.
Commercial and Industrial rooftop solar market has been rising over the last two years, driven by the huge savings energy cost and the availability of attractive financial models. Low cost financing from multilateral agencies like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, KfW etc are also helping the market growth. The C&I segment has accounted for close to 70% of the total rooftop solar installations. However, the market potential still remains hugely under exploited. Among the serious constraints are: 1) DISCOMS’s disinterest for fear of losing high tariff paying C&I customers which helps them in offsetting the social burden of offering cheap or free power to agricultural sector. 2) Metering policies of states: many lack clarity and they are not aligned across the states. 3) Serious issues like the possibility of abrupt downward revision of tariff orders looms large.
Over the past few years the residential electricity tariffs have been rising sharply and the electricity payout is hurting. Simultaneously, driven by enhanced media focus and the growing tribe of solar entrepreneurs, the market for residential solar is growing. However, despite the huge potential remains the market growth is disappointingly low. Among the many challenges are suitability of roof, allowable size, metering policies, ease of getting low cost financing and subsidy.
Recognizing that DISCOMs are central to reach the goal, The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced an achievement linked financial support scheme to them to accelerate rooftop solar deployment in the targeted segments: Residential, Commercial, Social, Governmental and Institutional. Further, to make rooftop solar attractive to the residential segment, 30% capital subsidy on the MNRE bench marked price for a max size of 5KW is proposed. The scheme called “Sustainable Rooftop Implementation for Solar Transfiguration of India (SRISTI) is planned to be implemented with a provision of Rs. 23,450 Crores. The rooftop solar installed capacity barely reached 2.5 GW in August which is just 6.25% of the targeted 40GW under the National Solar mission. A lot needs to be done to reach the target and to realize the huge advantage of Rooftop Solar.
Experts from the industry, policy makers and market researchers will share their experience and views and suggest the ways to accelerate the market during three rooftop conference sessions at Intersolar India on December 11-13, 2018 in Bangalore. Andrew Hines, Co-founder of CleanMax Solar will give a mid-term outlook for rooftop PV in India. Ryan Cook Senior Consultant at Meister Consultants Group will talk about residential market push through PV-rooftop demand aggregation. R.K. Jain, Addl. General Manager (Solar) at Solar Energy Corporation of India will talk about the successes and constraints of the rooftop solar growth in India. Afterwards Anuvrat Joshi, India Business Development Director at Cleantech Solar Energy (India) Pvt. Ltd. will address key trends, opportunities & challenges in adoption and scaling of industrial solar. Furthermore, in a session organized by swissnex India, experts from Switzerland will showcase proven BIPV technologies and applications for more energy efficient buildings, innovative rooftop structures, and sustainable Greentech solutions.