The country would end the target period of March 2022 with a projected total rooftop capacity of about 15,000MW – ‘way short of the target’ say experts.
Developers and experts comment that the rooftop solar sector may miss the target of installing 40,000megawatt (MW) capacity by 2022. The challenges in penetrating the residential and small and medium enterprises (SME) market space are the main reasons.
Research results from the consultancy firm Bridge to India show that the rooftop solar market has grown rapidly at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 88 per cent in the last five years. The corporate sector has quickly adopted the clean technology.
Speaking to a news agency, the firm’s Managing Director Vinay Rustagi said, “We estimate that the market added total capacity of about 1500MW over the last year. It could grow further to about 2250MW in 2019.”
However, he projected that the total rooftop capacity for the country by the end the target period of March 2022 would be about 15,000MW – ‘way short of the target’.
Mercom Capital Group’s CEO Raj Prabhu agrees. He told the same news agency that he did not expect the rooftop installations to meet the target.
He estimates the capacity to reach about 15,000MW to 20,000MW by 2022. “The year-over-year growth rate in rooftop solar space is higher, but actual installation numbers in megawatts are much lower compared to large-scale installations,” he said.
Major drivers of India’s rooftop market
According to Prabhu, high electricity prices, especially for commercial and industrial consumers, erratic power supply and compulsory installations on government buildings are the major drivers of India’s rooftop market.
The experts pointed out that even though the corporate sector took to the rooftop solar option to reduce their electricity costs, the residential and SME segments were not so enthusiastic because of limited financing options and lack of regulatory clarity.
According to CleanMax Solar’s co-founder Andrew Hines, the residential and medium, small and micro enterprises (MSME) segments remain largely untapped. He believes that a transparent and consumer-friendly feed-in-tariff for residential consumers would help spur growth in this segment.