The country has set an ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power.
Out of 100 GW solar capacity target, 40 GW is likely to be achieved by installation of rooftop solar projects. Rooftop solar is the fastest growing renewable energy sub-sector in India but installations must rapidly accelerate if the nation is to meet its ambitious renewable energy target by 2022. India has installed 28 GW of solar capacity, a four-fold increase in less than three years. Despite this strong growth, India has achieved only 10 per cent of its 40 GW rooftop solar target. This is well below the run-rate anticipated by government. To achieve the 2022 target, India will have to greatly accelerate the pace of new solar rooftop installations.
Some 70% of the market growth has been driven by commercial and industrial (C&I) consumers, clearly incentivised by the very high tariffs applying to these two sectors. (India has a very heavy cross-subsidy from C&I to residential and agricultural users, which in turn acts as a key incentive making self-generation for C&I immediately cost effective.) The balance of 30% is split equally between government and residential consumers. The top five states account for 54% of total rooftop solar capacity in India according to Bridge to India. 2 Maharashtra has the highest installed capacity of rooftop solar (473 MW) followed by Tamil Nadu (312 MW), Karnataka (273 MW), Rajasthan (270 MW) and Uttar Pradesh (223 MW). The increased adoption of rooftop solar 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.
Despite strong growth, India has to-date achieved only 10% of its target capacity addition of 40 GW by financial year (FY) 2022. To achieve the 2022 target, India will have to accelerate the pace of new solar rooftop installations, while the rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) segments including C&I, government and residential must be mobilised and encouraged for large scale adoption.
To assist the Government of India achieve its ambitious 2022 target, the World Bank is providing US$625m in financial support for a grid connected rooftop solar project. The project supports the shift to renewable energy by financing the installation of at least 400 MW of grid connected rooftop solar photovoltaic (GCRSPV) units across India, providing discounted, long tenor finance to both the suppliers of solar PV units as well as consumers wishing to install them. The World Bank is implementing the scheme with the State Bank of India (SBI) and up to 31 December 2018, it included approved credit of around US$123m to support more than 235 MW of rooftop solar capacity to be added to the grid. The World Bank and SBI are further accelerating the process by developing new credit instruments. 3 Further international financial assistance includes concessional loans of around US$750m from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the New Development Bank (NDB). These have been made available to the SBI, the Punjab National Bank (PNB) and the Canara Bank for rooftop solar projects. 4 The German state development bank KfW is also extending €200m in financial support for rural solar deployments,5 and is considering a US$1.1bn loan support program for rooftop solar in India.
The rooftop solar market holds huge growth potential across India and should be exploited to help meet the growing energy requirements of the population. Rooftop solar PV can meet the electricity needs of consumers, and given the government’s push for induction cooking, it can also enable people to switch from imported kerosene or biomass to clean, sustainable domestic cooking solutions. With declining PV module and storage costs, rooftop solar can provide a quality and reliable electricity supply in a cost-effective way.