India added record 1,836 Mw of rooftop solar power in last fiscal: Report

Rooftop solar power in India grew at a robust pace with the country adding a record 1,836 Mw in the last fiscal.

At the end of FY19, the overall installed rooftop solar capacity stood at 4,375 Mw, soaring 72 per cent over FY18, a report by Bridge to India showed. The fresh capacity addition came from commercial, industrial, public sector and residential projects. With a nameplate capacity of 2,140 Mw, the industrial segment is the biggest contributor to the solar rooftop power portfolio.

Maharashtra (618 Mw), Rajasthan (393 Mw), Tamil Nadu (365 Mw), Gujarat (314 Mw) and Karnataka (298 Mw) are the top five states leading in the pecking order of solar rooftop power generation. The solar rooftop market is split between inverter suppliers and engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) contractors, each with a size of 1,836 Mw. Project developers make up the remaining 688 Mw.

Rooftop solar power continues to grow consistently and is gaining increasing share of the market.

Average system size has increased over the years due to the greater adoption by C&I (commercial and industrial) users. Twenty nine per cent of the installations are more than 1 Mw in size, the report added.

The government, in 2015, had set a huge renewable energy capacity target of 175 gigawatts (GW) by 2022 for transitioning to a low-carbon pathway. Of this, 100 GW was earmarked for solar capacity, with 40 GW (or 40 per cent) expected to be achieved through decentralised and rooftop-scale solar projects.

US-based think-tank Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA), in a previously released report, noted that from a historically low base, rooftop solar has been the fastest growing renewable energy sub-sector in India, with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 116 per cent between 2012 and 2018.

Some 70 per cent of the market growth has been driven by commercial and industrial (C&I) consumers, clearly incentivised by the very high tariffs applying to these two sectors. (India has a very heavy cross-subsidy from C&I to residential and agricultural users, which in turn acts as a key incentive making self-generation for C&I immediately cost effective.) The remaining 30 per cent is split equally between government and residential consumers.

The increased adoption of rooftop solar in Indian states can be attributed to high retail tariffs for C&I consumers, favourable net metering policies, corporate social responsibility programmes and increased consumer awareness.

IEEFA estimates that for the next three years, rooftop solar installations will grow at a CAGR of 50 per cent, suggesting a cumulative 13 GW of installed capacity by FY2021-22.