Rooftop solar power could be a game-changer for India
India’s solar sector has seen a spectacular run in the last four years, largely attributable to its ambitious renewable energy targets and pro-solar policies. However, uptake of solar rooftop has remained sluggish all along. So far, India has attained less than 10 percent of its 40GW rooftop solar target. Undoubtedly, the pace of installations will have to be accelerated exponentially if the country were to accomplish its 2022 energy target.
To achieve the cumulative capacity of 40,000MW from rooftop solar projects by 2022, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently approved Phase–II of the Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar Programme. The programme will be implemented with central financial assistance of Rs 11,814 crore (approximately $1.7 billion), pursuant to which the government will provide financial support of 40 percent for 3kWp and 20 percent for capacity beyond 3kW up to 10kWp for residential sector. The programme also earmarks Rs 4950 crore (approximately $712 million) as incentive to distribution companies (discoms) for installing additional grid-connected rooftop capacity up to first additional 18 GW rooftop capacity. The programme is laudable and necessary to give the much-needed momentum lacking in the industry. It does so by seeking to address two major roadblocks impeding the large-scale deployment of rooftop solar in India – insufficient support by discoms and dearth of interest, particularly amongst residential consumers.