Pow­ered up: In­dia plans ‘rent a rooftop’ so­lar pol­icy

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - Ut­pal Bhaskar and Jy­otika Sood ut­pal.b@livemint.com

New Delhi: The Union gov­ern­ment is work­ing on a ‘rent a rooftop’ pol­icy to sup­port its am­bi­tious plan to gen­er­ate 40 gi­gawatt (GW) so­lar power from rooftop pan­els by 2022, Anand Ku­mar, sec­re­tary in the min­istry of new and re­new­able en­ergy said. The gov­ern­ment is also plan­ning to bid out wind power con­tracts to­tal­ing 24.5 GW over the next two years.

“We are plan­ning a ‘rent a rooftop’ pol­icy,” said Ku­mar in his first in­ter­view after as­sum­ing the charge in the min­istry.

While in­vestors have been en­thused by In­dia’s ground­mounted grid-con­nected large so­lar parks, the so­lar rooftop mar­ket hasn’t gained much trac­tion. “We are now try­ing to work out a new pro­gramme called ‘rent a roof,’ wherein the de­vel­oper will take rooftops on rent and will of­fer lease to each house-hold, and then feed the power to the grid,” added Ku­mar.

Of In­dia’s am­bi­tious plan of set­ting up a 175 GW of clean en­ergy by 2022, 100 GW is to come from so­lar projects. Of these, while 60GW is be­ing tar­geted from ground-mounted grid-con­nected projects, 40GW is to come from so­lar rooftop projects. Wind power projects are to con­trib­ute 60 GW. Such a pol­icy will help In­dia’s net-me­ter­ing mar­ket. The coun­try of­fers a big op­por­tu­nity given its 750GW po­ten­tial as it records around 300 sunny days a year with an av­er­age so­lar ra­di­a­tion range of 4-7 per kilo­watthour (kWh).

“Un­der ‘rent a roof’, any­one can take a roof. Right now, net me­ter­ing is hap­pen­ing but it is for the in­di­vid­ual house­hold to go for it on its own. After this, all the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties such as main­te­nance will be with the de­vel­oper. We are work­ing on the pol­icy,” Ku­mar said.

For In­dia’s so­lar power tar­gets to be met, the rooftop piece will have to take off. How­ever, there are con­cerns as In­dia is not ex­pected to achieve even half of the so­lar rooftop tar­gets by De­cem­ber 2021, ac­cord­ing to con­sult­ing firm Bridge To In­dia (BTI). Also, a par­lia­men­tary stand­ing com­mit­tee has said that the 40GW tar­get of grid-con­nected rooftop so­lar by 2022 is “un­re­al­is­tic”, Mint re­ported on Au­gust 1.

“We are do­ing it pre­cisely for the same rea­son. Rooftops also are of small sizes. It is hap­pen­ing in ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and at other places but is not hap­pen­ing at the house-hold level,” Ku­mar said.

In­dian so­lar in­dus­try wel­comed the move.

“The so­lar in­dus­try will wel­come the ‘rent a roof’ pol­icy with open arms. This would en­sure so­lar at grass root level and give ev­ery home a chance to be en­ergy in­de­pen­dent. One would re­quest to de­fine the frame­work clearly as the num­ber of stake­hold­ers in­volved will be a lot many,” said An­mol Singh Jaggi, di­rec­tor at Gen­sol, a so­lar ad­vi­sory firm.

In­dia’s green en­ergy play is ex­pected to grow sub­stan­tively with fed­eral pol­icy think tank NITI Aayog pro­ject­ing 597710GW ca­pac­ity by 2040 in its new draft en­ergy pol­icy.

The Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA) gov­ern­ment is also firm­ing up its strat­egy to ex­pe­dite bid­ding out wind power con­tracts. In­dia has an in­stalled wind power ca­pac­ity of 33GW. The coun­try has auc­tioned 2 GW of wind power con­tracts that saw tar­iff fall­ing to a record low of ₹2.64 per unit in the Oc­to­ber auc­tion con­ducted by state-run So­lar En­ergy Corp. of In­dia (SECI).

“States will be bid­ding out around 500 MW. In ad­di­tion, we will be bid­ding out around 4500 MW by March. It will be fol­lowed by bids for 10 GW next year fol­lowed by an­other 10 GW in the year after. So, by March 2020, we want to fin­ish our bid­ding so that we are able to achieve our tar­get by March 2022,” Ku­mar said.


Of In­dia’s am­bi­tious plan of set­ting up a 175 GW of clean en­ergy by 2022, 100 GW is to come from so­lar projects

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