Solar going through the roof in India


For India to meet its ambitious PV targets, both utility-scale and rooftop, many commitments are going to have to be made across the country. Tomorrow marks the inauguration of the National Workshop on Roof Top Solar Power to start the rooftop PV ball really rolling, and central ministries are expected to use the occasion to pledge to install 5 GW of rooftop solar on their sites and lands.

The workshop in New Delhi, which is expecting to have around 1,400 participants in attendance, will be inaugurated by the Union Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy, Shri Piyush Goyal. The aim of the event is to act as a helpdesk for people installing rooftop solar projects, while simultaneously being used as a platform to congratulate the best performing ministries, departments and agencies, who have led to way for rooftop installations.

The joint secretary at the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Shri Santosh D. Vaidya, said that there will be presentations and discussions on a number of topics to help facilitate the development of rooftop projects. To really get the country’s rooftop ambitions off the ground, some 50 central ministries are due to make pledges to install a cumulative 5 GW of rooftop solar systems on their buildings and land they own.

“Ministries and departments will present commitment certificates to develop rooftop solar,” said MNRE secretary Shri Upendra Tripathy. “The total commitment will be 5,000 MW. We are looking at a three-year deadline to achieve the target.”

The two ministries that are expected to make the largest pledges are the Ministry of Railways and the Department of Atomic Energy, which will each make pledges of 500 MW. Although it sounds unlikely that the ministries would have enough adequate and structurally sound rooftop space available to complete 5 GW of rooftop installations, a total of 5,900 MW of space for the solar capacity has been identified across the rooftops and available lands.

Achievability of India’s rooftop goal

India has a hugely ambitious target to install 40 GW of rooftop solar across the country by 2022, as part of the country’s Clean Climate commitments. To try and be sure that the country can achieve this goal – or even come close – India’s Central Government in New Delhi is mandating states to comply with the targets.

It has come up with a system of allocation for different states, based on each state’s power consumption. The state with the highest target is Maharashtra with a whopping 4,700 MW target to be installed by 2022.

To try and encourage the states to invest in the rooftop PV projects, the government has introduced many incentives and promotional measures. However, regardless of the incentives, a long road lies ahead, as there is currently only 300 MW of rooftop PV installed in the country.