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Making 40,000 MW of solar power happen on Indian rooftop

   August 9, 2019        182        Sachin Bhalla

The world today is reeling under the climate change threat. This is driving every country towards minimizing their greenhouse gas emissions and build strong carbon footprints. This certainly brings our attention towards solar energy which is available in abundance and is a better alternative to the cleaner green energy resource.

Indian government, too, has set a target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022, of which 40 GW target is set for grid-connected solar PV rooftop.

Harnessing solar energy at home is cheaper, greener and easier than grid power. Average cost of power per unit comes to Rs 2.5 per unit, if a home goes for solar power. This is much cheaper than power tariffs in most of the Indian states. It does not emit any greenhouse gases either and keeps the home atmosphere cool because of the solar PV shielding at rooftop.

Above all this, the government is also offering subsidies and pushing utilities to promote solar power usage at homes. Consumers are also being incentivised under various schemes.

If the economics make so much sense in using solar power, why the adoption of solar by home owners in India has been extremely low? Currently, the rooftop solar installed capacity in India stands at 4GW that is 10% of the target set by the government.

The reason for such a dismal performance is not that difficult to find. Today, if you want to buy Rs 5-7 lakhs worth a car, you go to a nearby car dealer, take a test
drive, sign a few car registration papers, get instant financial support through financial institutions without much of a paper work and drive home a beautiful car, all within half-a-day’s work.

On the other hand, if you want to get a similar priced solar PV rooftop set-up installed at your house, it will take you several weeks to get a bank approval, may be
months to obtain the multiple government approvals and in worst cases years before you will get the subsidy credited to your account.

Because of this cumbersome and prolonged authorisation process to install a solar rooftop facility consumers loose their interest, companies lose money, leaving every stakeholder with a bad experience and unhappy.

How can we motivate people then to adopt solar PV rooftop solutions? The government needs to make solar rooftop installation as simple as buying a car. Nudge the banks to create products for solar financing, incentivize state electricity boards to give approvals faster and on top of that make conducive policy environment so that companies can further invest in the sector.

By making solar buying process as simple as half-a-day car buying event with an efficient support system will ensure that more and more ‘value conscious’ Indians switch to this green alternative source of energy to reduce their power bills.

ET Energy World

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