A recent study found that the low adoption of rooftop solar systems in India is primarily because of limited electricity consumption and the existing subsidies for coal-fired electricity. This makes solar power, even with subsidies, more expensive. The study surveyed 14,000 households across 21 states. The analysis was carried out by researchers from the Council for Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a thinktank based in Delhi.
If solar panels were installed on all the rooftops in India’s estimated 25-30 crore households, it would generate a total capacity of 637 gigawatts, which is five times the current renewable energy capacity.
If solar panel installations were limited to the amount of electricity households actually use, the capacity would decrease by 80% to 118 GW. Currently, India has 11 GW of rooftop solar capacity, with only 2.7 GW in residential units and the rest in commercial or industrial spaces. The government aims to install 40 GW of rooftop solar capacity.
The analysis states that despite subsidies provided by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, rooftop solar systems are still too costly for most Indian electricity consumers.
Around 80% to 85% of consumers use around 1200 units of electricity per year, and some of it is already provided for free through state subsidies. To encourage more people to install rooftop solar panels, it may be necessary to offer additional incentives to those who use the least amount of electricity, specifically 0-1 kilowatt.
India has experienced a significant increase in solar power capacity over the past decade, but in order for the revolution to reach its full potential, residential rooftop solar will have to be included. This can be achieved by offering residents fair prices, appealing incentives, and a convenient experience, which will encourage the market to develop suitable products and capacities for homes.
Reference- Council for Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) Report, MNRE website, The Hindu, Mercom india, Economic Times