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Metros fail to see big uptake in rooftop solar system installations: report

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-05-2017 Mayank Aggarwal

New Delhi: Even though there are guidelines and policies to encourage rooftop solar systems, such as a 30% subsidy by the union government, their installation has been dismal in leading metros across the country, especially in Chennai and Mumbai, a report released on Tuesday said.

The analysis by Greenpeace India ‘Indian cities slacking on rooftop solar’ emphasised that Delhi too has failed to see a big uptake in the residential sector.

The report said Delhi’s total solar potential is 2,500 MW with a residential potential of 1,250 MW.

“The official target in Delhi is to reach 1,000 MW worth solar installations by 2020 and 2,000 MW by 2025. But as of December 2016, only 35.9 MW have been installed out of which, only 3 MW were residential installations in March 2016,” the analysis highlighted.

“Mumbai, which has a potential of 1,720 MW has only 5 MW overall installed till now. The entire state of Tamil Nadu has less than 2 MW as against a rooftop solar target of 350 MW,” it added.

As per the report, Bengaluru has only 36 MW of rooftop solar systems installed.

India has an ambitious solar power target of 100,000 MW by 2022. Of that 60,000 MW is targeted from large projects while 40,000 MW from the solar rooftop projects. But as of December 2016, solar rooftop installations across India had just crossed 1 GW.

“The reasons for the slow uptake seem to be lack of familiarity with the process and fear of bureaucratic red tape. Besides this, net metering provisions are present in most states, but effectiveness of implementation varies significantly,” the report added.

“Despite the national incentive in the form of a 30% capital subsidy, and a range of state incentives and schemes, rooftop solar is yet to take off in the same manner as large-scale solar. However, this does not mean India should lower its ambitious targets, as some have suggested. Rather, the government must step up and play a more proactive role in encouraging rooftop installations. This can be via innovative financing schemes, aggregating demand and incentivizing city and state governments,” said Pujarini Sen, Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace India, an NGO working on environmental issues.

Sen stressed that state and central governments must reach out to people to encourage them to shed their inhibitions and embrace rooftop solar.

“There is still a widespread perception that installation of rooftop solar panels needs a large investment, and people are not always aware of the financial incentives available. If central and state governments are serious about boosting solar, they must do a better job of reaching out to resident welfare associations and community groups to encourage people to shed their inhibitions and embrace rooftop solar,” Sen added.

Those from the industry also feel that although the government must introduce sector specific incentives.

“The scenario is changing and Government has taken some commendable initiatives in the past two years, as MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) has approved many projects across the country. But, in addition, the government must introduce some sector specific incentives to attract the foreign investors. Solar power is a capital intensive sector and without adequate funds things cannot be materialised effectively. Furthermore, general misconception of solar systems are costly should be removed and awareness on net metering should be created,” said Amit Bansal, Director Finance at Vivaan Solar, a company involved in rooftop solar projects.

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