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Rooftop solar makes sense, but slow in take-off

(19 Apr 2015)

Rooftop projects will help the Centre realise its ambitious target of adding 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power by 2022 even as the green energy has its own challenges, say industry experts. 

Solar power producers are of the view that the concept of rooftop solar solutions for households is a step in the right direction but will yield results only in due course of time. 

"Rooftop solar makes sense on paper for many customers, yet it is still slow to take off. Firstly, we found that customers need a significant economic benefit of 20 per cent or more to feel motivated to make the transition. That is not reached yet. 

"Secondly, while solar power makes an intuitive sense in a hot, power starved country, customers don't know enough about the details yet," Tobias Engelmeier, Founder and Director of Bridge To India said. 

Bridge To India is a company engaged strategic consulting, market intelligence and project development. 

The main drivers of the rooftop solar market are fast rising power tariffs across the country and drop in the cost of solar power tariff. 

"The main driver is commercial: fast rising power tariffs across the country and falling solar costs. Solar just pays for many consumers, especially commercial and industrial tariff customers. Secondary drivers are hedging against future tariff increases, becoming more energy independent and going green," Engelmeier said. 

Some private solar power generation companies feel it will grow in a big way and others state that the government's target of 40 GW of rooftop solar is ambitious but possible. 

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has ambitious plans of adding 100 GW or 1,00,000 MW of solar power by 2022 of which 40,000 MW (40 GW) will come from rooftop solar. 

"With the market's renewed focus on end-consumers, solar segment, rooftops are expected to grow in a big way. The biggest boost to rooftop solar uptake will be setting up of uniform FiTs (feed in tariff) across all states," Ashish Khanna, ED and CO, Tata Power Solar said.

He added, "The need of the hour is a comprehensive solar policy which will specify financial incentive such as competitive FiT at state-level and net metering and it should be spelt out in detail with standardisation in technology as well as components."

News Source : Economic times