Indian Rooftop Solar Target Facing Challenge

Indian solar sector has done a great job surpassing 1 GW capacity for rooftop sector out of the set 40 GW target. Given, that the numbers are not pretty impressive if we are to compare it with improvement in the dominant countries, we have to consider that the current growth shows 113 per cent growth metric in 2016 over 2015. Without the industrial strength that supports the dominant countries, India has scaled an incredible height in green energy development. However, Central Electricity Authority of India’s (CEA) latest plan to add about 24 GW rooftop solar capacity within 2027, will need more than just Government backing.

Out of the 1 GW capacity of the Indian rooftop solar sector, commercial and residential holds 263 MW and 260 MW capacity, while Government based installations stand at 121 MW. However, industrial rooftop solar surpasses other sectors with 377 MW capacity. FY 2017 is expected to add another 400 MW to the rooftop solar growth in India, leading the cumulative capacities to 1,500 MW.

India has a total of 300 million houses, and rooftop potential of the country stands up to 1,24,000 MW. And statistics show that with only 1.3% of the total household made solar compatible, it is possible to cover more than 30 per cent of the rooftop potential of our country. And Indian Government is taking incredible initiatives like- introducing huge tenders on solar rooftop installations (1,000 MW by SECI), opting for 7,000 MW rooftop installation on Government buildings to increase the solar growth in the country. However, the rooftop implementation process is not picking up the speed we need it to reach 40 GW by 2022. Solar policies like- net metering and financial support are being announced but yet to be enforced aggressively to see the result we hope for.

Current rooftop solar capacity that stands at only 1,247 MW is only 3 per cent of the 40 GW target ahead of us. Reports prove that India needs to up its game in order to add 53 GW of solar power within next three years. Obviously, the rooftop solar growth plan would involve residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors, introducing a symmetrical progress in all the sectors involved.

However, special focus on residential off grid solar growth is important to bringing in common man in the fold raising awareness with ease. A robust regulatory and policy framework is needed to improve residential solar growth. Better net metering policy and enforcement processes are also needed to further the progress.

An allocation of Rs5,000 crore has already been approved for implementation of grid connected rooftop solar systems. New investments are also coming, promising a better growth trajectory for Indian rooftop sector. However, more focus on skill development, awareness, and financing solutions are needed to successfully scale heights that we are hoping for.