India added record 1,836 Mw of rooftop solar power in last fiscal: Report

Topics Rooftop solar

Solar power
Rooftop solar power installations in India grew at a robust pace in 2018-19 (FY19), with the country adding a record 1,836 megawatt (Mw). 

At the end of FY19, the installed rooftop solar power generation capacity stood at 4,375 Mw, soaring 72 per cent over FY18, showed a report by Bridge to India. The fresh capacity additions came across commercial, industrial, public sector, and residential projects. With an installed capacity of 2,140 Mw, the industrial segment is the biggest contributor to the solar rooftop power portfolio.

Maharashtra (618 Mw), Rajasthan (393 Mw), Tamil Nadu (365 Mw), Gujarat (314 Mw) and Karnataka (298 Mw) are the top rooftop solar power generating states. The market is split between inverter suppliers and EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractors, each producing 1,836 Mw of rooftop solar power. Project developers make up the rest 688 Mw, with 15 Mw generated by stand-alone corporate establishments.

Rooftop solar power generation is increasingly gaining market share. 

“Average system size has increased over the years due to greater adoption by commercial and industrial (C&I) users. Twenty nine per cent of the installations are more than 1 Mw in size”, added the report.

In 2015, the government set a huge renewable energy capacity target of 175 gigawatt (Gw), which was to be achieved by 2022, for transitioning into a nation with low-carbon footprint. Of this, 100 Gw was earmarked for solar capacity with 40 Gw (or 40 per cent) expected to be achieved through rooftop solar power projects.

US-based think-tank Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA), noted in a report that from a historically low base, rooftop solar power generation has become the fastest growing renewable energy sub-sector in India, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 116 per cent between 2012 and 2018.

C&I consumers, incentivised by very high tariffs in these two sectors, have driven around 70 per cent of the growth. India has a very heavy cross-subsidy from C&I to residential and agricultural users. This acts as a key incentive, making self-generation for C&I immediately cost effective. The balance of 30 per cent is split equally between the government and residential consumers. The increased adoption of rooftop solar power production in Indian states can be attributed to high retail tariffs for C&I consumers, favourable net metering policies, corporate social responsibility programs, and increased consumer awareness.

IEEFA estimates that for the next three years, rooftop solar installation will grow at a CAGR of 50 per cent, suggesting a cumulative 13 Gw of installed capacity by FY22.

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