Even as New York hits fresh highs on solar power, Indian metros lag despite advantages

Highlights :

  • With its many advantages, rooftop solar systems could have been the most popular power alternative in India’s homes and establishments.
  • Yet that is not the case in the country’s major cities, which have failed to harness solar power despite having higher irradiance than New York does.

The New York Independent System Operator said March 29 that about 750 MW of incremental behind-the-meter solar power capacity has been added over the past year, helping the state recently set a record high of 2,328 MW of BTM meter solar output, reports US data and analytics provider S&P Global.

The NYISO estimated that BTM solar production reached the record of 2,328 MW during the noon hour on March 22, according to an emailed statement to S&P. The previous record of 2,034 MW was reached on April 23, 2021, and the NYISO estimates the state’s current total BTM solar capacity at just under 3,500 MW.

“The new solar record is exemplary of the exciting change happening in the electric industry today, Rich Dewey, president and CEO of the NYISO said. “It also shows how markets and innovation are responding to the state’s decarbonization targets,” Dewey said.

BTM solar PV capacity in New York is expected to reach 4,021 MW dc in 2022 before increasing to 7,281 MW dc by 2030, a 45% increase, according to NYISO data.

With its many advantages, rooftop solar systems could have been the most popular power alternative in India’s homes and establishments: It is sustainable, causes minimal distribution losses, allows dedicated transmission and requires no land use. Yet that is not the case in the country’s major cities, which have failed to harness solar power despite having higher irradiance than New York does.

For instance, the average annual solar radiation in Nagpur, a central Indian city in Maharashtra with 300 sunny days a year, is about 5.09 kWh/m2/day, according to some estimates. To put it in context, 90% of India receives 5 kWh/m2/day of solar radiation, but only in summer months. Despite this advantage, of the 532,000 properties with solar rooftop potential in Nagpur, as of 2021, only 2,528 (0.47%) had actually installed it–2,187 residential properties and 341 non-residential, commercial or mixed use. As an incentive, the city’s municipal corporation offers a 5% discount on property tax for those using rooftop systems but even that has not helped much.

According to a study completed by IIT Delhi researchers earlier this month, India’s mounting air pollution is not just taking a toll on health but also holding the country back from achieving its solar energy goals, leading to a loss of 29% of its utilisable ‘global horizontal irradiance potential’. As it is, the study says, urban haze caused an 11.5% loss in solar radiation falling on a surface in Delhi during 2016-17, causing a loss of about $20 million, that could have been saved if power was generated using solar energy rather than fossil fuels.

"Want to be featured here or have news to share? Write to info[at]saurenergy.com
      SUBSCRIBE NEWS LETTER
Scroll