Is Rooftops Solar a Good Option for India?

With an average solar insolation of 4-7 kwh/m and 300 sunny days in a year, India’s potential for harnessing solar power is immense. Government of India wants a growing share of the country’s electricity generation to come from renewable energy. India plans to install 40 GW of PV Rooftop Solar Systems (grid connected) by 2022.

To achieve this target, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is providing a CFA (Central Finance Assistance) or subsidy for Solar Rooftop PV implementations. The CFA is 30% of the benchmark cost for general category states/UTs and 70% of the benchmark cost for North Eastern states, islands and J&K. This subsidy is available for domestic users.

For commercial and industrial users, the depreciation (for taxation purposes) calculated per year on investment towards solar PV systems is as high as 40%. State Energy Development Agencies are also offering additional subsidies over and above the one offered by MNRE as a result the investment return (gestation) period is mere 4 years in case of both residential as well as commercial projects.

The cost for setting up a residential rooftop solar PV system with Indian manufactured panels comes between Rs.55-65/watt (turnkey/EPC) without subsidies. With subsidies the cost is as low as Rs.39/watt. For large scale commercial projects the costs are, obviously, further low.

It better to go for ‘grid connected’ solar systems where your solar system is connected to your electricity supply  as you do not need batteries to store; whatever electricity is produced through the system, it can be sold to your electricity distribution company. 

The procedure to sell (and procure) electricity is termed as ‘net metering’ which is achieved by installing a single bi-directional meter along with the system. When you consume electricity from the grid (or your electricity supply), the meter readings will move forward; but, when you produce electricity and send it to the grid, the meter readings shall move backward.

To answer the above question “Is Rooftops Solar a Good Option for India?” Yes. It will save both energy and money, that too in an Eco friendly manner.