Rooftop Solar Presents a $23 Billion Opportunity in India: Report

Rooftop solar in India will grow inevitably with or without the support of power distribution utilities

According to a new report released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), India’s 40-GW target for rooftop solar PV by 2022 represents a $23 billion investment opportunity.

Rooftop solar

The report titled, ‘Accelerating India’s Clean Energy Transition,’ which was released at the BNEF Future of Energy Summit in Shanghai on November 28 said in the next five years, India will need to invest USD 23 billion to meet its target of 40GW of rooftop photovoltaic installations by 2022.

“Rooftop solar in India will grow inevitably with or without the support of power distribution utilities,” the head of India research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Shantanu Jaiswal said.

The cost of electricity from rooftop PV has halved in the last five years due to fierce competition in the market and a drop in equipment prices. In contrast, average retail electricity rates have increased by 22% in the same period. This has made rooftop PV cheaper than commercial and industrial grid tariffs in all major states in India.

“Net metering is a far more important enabler for residential small-scale solar than for business-scale projects,” said Itamar Orlandi, head of frontier markets at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The head of Asia-Pacific research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Ashish Sethia said that growth of rooftop solar presents an opportunity for the distribution companies to diversify and start their own businesses in that area rather than lose customers to other rooftop developers. “Power distribution companies can also work with other rooftop PV companies to provide operations and maintenance services, billing, lead generation, branding and sales support,” Sethia added.

Annual rooftop PV installations in India

“India is expected to install more renewable energy than fossil fuel power generation in 2017. Commissioned renewables projects amounted to 10GW through September, compared with 8GW for coal and gas,” it says.

BNEF report further said that India has a target of installing 10,000 rural micro-grids with a cumulative capacity of 500MW by 2021. “Five states in India have released micro-grid policies and regulations in the last two years to promote investment and installations in this sector,” BNEF said.

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

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