Industry Welcomes Govt Move To Simplify Rooftop Solar Installation

Highlights :

  • The latest changes to rooftop solar rules would have been considered revolutionary, but for the challenges they face on the ground.
  • We speak to multiple Industry experts on the consumer focused changes, and what is needed to make it work.
Industry Welcomes Govt Move To Simplify Rooftop Solar Installation

Last Friday’s (Jan 21) announcement by the Power ministry on rooftop solar guidelines and implementation have been welcomed by industry. While this is by no means unexpected, considering how the new guidelines seek to push more discretion in the hands of the buyer and pushes for faster response from operating and regulating agencies, it remains to be seen how fast the situation on the ground changes.

Subrahmanyam Pulipaka, CEO, National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI), had this to say on behalf of NSEFI adding that NSEFI would be pushing to spread awareness about the changes too. “NSEFI welcomes this move of Central Government. This brings us one step closer to evolve into a market driven demand compared to government driven demand. We should now focus on ensuring quality residential rooftop systems proliferate in India. The residential rooftop potential is very high in India and the time has now come to convert that potential into installed capacity. At NSEFI we will be soon launching an initiative to spread awareness among the consumers across the country to accelerate the uptake of residential rooftop solar”

The Petronas- owned and Gurugram based Amplus Solar, which has been one of the most aggressive players in the C&I market and lately, the rooftop solar market for residential segment, was also hopeful, even as it stressed on the need to maintain quality standards. Ritu Lal (Senior VP & Head – Institutional Relations) says that ” The proposed simplification of Rooftop Solar installation is a welcome move. From quicker adoption to speedier and smoother implementation, the scheme, if well supported by the DISCOMS, will provide a much-needed impetus to solar adoption among homeowners in India. Availability of high quality, reliable components, especially modules and inverters, will be critical in making sure the scheme achieves what it sets out to do. The customers can choose trusted brands like Amplus solar to get the full benefit of solar through its lifespan of 25 years.”

Rooftop Guidelines Responses

From Left, Shreyas Gowda, Subrahmanyam Pulipaka, Ritu Lal

It was a similar refrain from Shreyas Gowda, Vice President (Sales & Products) at Mumbai-based Oorjan Cleantech who added that “To drive solar adoption amongst residential consumers, it is key to make the entire process of hardware purchase, system installation, and grid synchronization, easy and discretionary to the consumer. Today’s direction issued by the Ministry of Power and New Renewable Energy is a welcome move in this direction. If implemented by the DISCOMs and other executing nodal agencies in line with directions, this would help organically develop the residential rooftop solar sector.”

It is interesting that both the developers have chosen to add a caveat to their welcome of the changes, in the form of “if discoms implement..”

In effect, we also agree that the whole success of failure of these changes will revolve around the mechanism or methods the government evolves to incentivise, motivate or drive the discoms to show the same level of backing and enthusiasm for solar rooftops in the residential category as the Power and MNRE ministries themselves.

The short term hits to discoms have been well documented, in the form of supposedly quality consumers turning prosumers with solar. However, the long term benefits, be it in the form of additional renewable capacity, these numbers counting towards discom RPO numbers, or the critical degree of self sufficiency for larger cities like Delhi where almost none exists currently, cannot be overstated. And of course, the fact that a pick up in rooftop solar installations is absolutely critical for the country to meet its own renewable energy targets, where rooftop solar achievement has been at barely 15% of targeted numbers till date.

Rooftop Solar is also a valuable tool in providing demand for domestically produced solar equipment, even if it comes at a slight premium to imports, due to relatively less price elasticity. Finally, there is of course the immense potential for jobs , both skilled and otherwise, that a large and thriving rooftop solar market can sustain, as seen in many other strong markets like US, Australia. Estimates suggest a 5x advantage when it comes to employment in rooftop solar, for every MW of installations, as compared to utility scale solar.

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