India has successfully surpassed 1 GW milestone for rooftop solar growth, showing near about 113 per cent growth in 2016 over 2015. This is a considerable growth factoring in the lack of industrial environment in India. Although, Central Electricity Authority of India’s (CEA) latest plan to add about 24 GW rooftop solar capacity within 2027 will help in speeding up the installation capacity, executing the operation will need more than just Government backing.

Statistics show that rooftop potential of the country stands up to 1,24,000 MW. And more than 30 per cent of which can be easily covered if only 1.3% of the total household in India is made solar compatible. This news alone should serve as an incentive for Government and private entities to gear up the rooftop installation in cities and rural areas. However, India is still struggling with adopting solar in the major cities.

Although, Government has offered a 30 per cent subsidy for rooftop installation and focused on net-metering (30 of the total 36 states and UTs in India have been identified to have net-metering policies), cities in India are failing to lead the rooftop solar revolution. Cities like Mumbai, Chennai, and even Delhi which had shown promise as becoming a favorable environment for rooftop solar growth, but has failed to continue the progress. And if we consider the set target which is 40 GW by 2022, current 1 GW capacity may fail to convince us of success in reaching the target.

Analyzing City Wise Rooftop Solar Growth Can Highlight The Drawback:

Delhi has an estimated solar potential of 1.25 GW, while the city’s official target is 1 GW by 2020 and 2 GW by 2025, surprisingly the city has only installed 35.9 MW of solar rooftop capacity. And about 3 MW of that capacity is from residential installations.

Similarly, Tamil Nadu, which has Rs 20,000 subsidy in store for domestic consumers, has also been unsuccessful in making progress. State’s rooftop solar target is 350 MW, out of which nearly 2 MW have been installed.

These scenarios clearly illustrate the lag in rooftop solar growth. Current 1 GW of the Indian rooftop solar capacity consists of 377 MW industrial, 263 MW commercial and nearly 260 MW residential installations. This explains that rooftop solar growth is concentrated on large scale utility sector and commercial installations, which is inadvertently keeping the common people from the solar revolution. This is a problem, since the core purpose behind solar revolution is to spread light to the furthest corners of the country.

Surveys and polls show significant public interest in accepting solar. However, lack of awareness of schemes, policies, details on the benefits of solar energy, has been the hurdle in path of spontaneous rooftop solar adoption. Although there are 300 million homes in India, only a meagre percentage of that number has capable roof to hold solar panels successfully. Bringing in nodal agencies to spread awareness and involve common man can work wonders easily. However, current issue of GST taxes on solar modules is something that would require a bit more focus of Government.

Indian solar industry has enjoyed ‘0’ percent tax on excise duty, sales tax, basic and total custom duty till now. However, with GST now marking 5 per cent tax on solar modules, it is evident that solar module manufacturing cost would increase, making domestic modules costlier than foreign modules (already 8-10 per cent costly).

Therefore, as it seems, there are multiple variables at play here that influence rooftop solar growth in India. In order to gain positive results, and reach 40 GW by 2022 target, Government must realign its actions with the vision of making India solar reliant.

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Can’t make it to Intersolar Europe 2017 in Munich but still want to see what SMA will be showcasing at Europe’s leading trade fair for the solar industry? Our colleague Sebastian Seidl gives you an exclusive virtual tour of the almost finished trade fair booth.

Enjoy the video tour.

Stay Tuned

If you want to know more about the new solutions from SMA, we recommend you take a look at our blog over the next few days, where we will be publishing more interviews with our colleagues —directly from the trade fair booth.

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Getting started with planning a solar-diesel-hybrid plant can seem overwhelming at first. To make it easy for everyone, SMA offers a free service to help you in the planning phase. This article describes how you can easily get in contact with our experts.

For all of you who do not have time to spare, this is the very short version:

  1. Fill in this questionnaire
    don’t fear: it is just two pages that collect the most important aspects
  2. Send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

That’s it! 🙂

With this information, our experts have all info at hand to make a solar-diesel-hybrid system design and a bill of material. If there are positions within the Questionnaire that you can not answer, just leave them free – then we will suggest a best fit from our calculations or experiences made in the 140 systems in operation all over the planet.

And now in a little more detail

For all those of you who would like to spend 5 minutes more: You will find details to all the information queried in the questionnaire in the following lines.

General Data
General Data

General Data

The questionnaire starts with a section querying general data about the project. This information is useful for us to link design requests to a later project realization. Maybe our experts have the one or other detail question. In this case, the contact information allows us to get in interaction with you quickly.

If part of the information is confidential, please just omit it.

Location Data
Location Data

Location Data

We also query location data. We use location based weather data for calculation of the economic analysis. The more precise the location is, the better the solar production can be guessed.

If information about the location is confident, you could leave this field blank, but the results of the economic analysis would be more a very rough guess. At least, coordinates of a point close to the location anywhere in the surrounding would still be better than no coordinates at all.

Electrical Data

This section queries information about the electrical grid that is available in the planned location. Depending on the electrical data, our experts select components that can cope with these grid conditions.

Load Data
Load Data

Load Data

In this section, you can provide information about the load. This information also adds to the economical analysis and helps us to propose a size of the solar system. The load also significantly influences how much solar energy can be used and how much has to be curtailed to maintain grid stability.

Genset Configuration
Genset Configuration

Genset Configuration

Here you can give the parameters of the available diesel gensets. The Fuel Save Controller is able to reduce genset power to a minimum. How much this will be largely depends on the nominal power and type of the gensets available.

We also query if there is a genset controller. This information tells us if we have to add a genset power measurement or if we can use the genset controller information directly.

This information is essential and should be filled as complete as possible.

Photovoltaics
Photovoltaics

Photovoltaics

Here you can input the desired solar generator information. Sometimes Sometimes there are special preferences for a solar inverter type. You can add that here.

If you do not provide information here, we will propose an optimum solar generator size.

Battery Storage
Battery Storage

Battery Storage

This section allows to specify the use of a battery storage. If you do not intend to use battery storage, please leave this section empty.

First point to select is how the storage should be used. Will it be used grid parallel (this means it will behave like “more or less load”) or grid forming (the battery inverter behaves like another genset). Furthermore several functions of the battery storage can be selected. Depending on this information, we select the right battery inverter for your project.

The battery itself is also a very important component. You should add information about your chosen battery here so that we can check for compatibility. If you have not chosen yet, you can leave the battery information empty and we will propose a suitable battery type.

Public Grid connection
Public Grid

Public Grid

In this section, we query information about the grid connection. Dependent on the information given here, there may be additional components needed to measure power and availability of the grid.

It also influences the behaviour of the system in terms of curtailment of solar energy.

Miscellaneous
Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

Here we query some surrounding conditions. The fuel price of course is the basic parameter for all savings a solar-diesel-hybrid system may reach. Sometimes transportation of fuel to the site can be quite expensive. State a price here that contains all costs for fuel including transportation.

Furthermore we ask for if an internet connection is available. Our Fuel Save Controller can build up an VPN connection to SMA Service so that our service can quickly respond should problems occur. This VPN connection can also be used during commissioning to configure the system remotely.

You are invited to attach further information too. If you have a Single Line Diagram of the site it would be of great help, but also any additional information may be helpful.

That’s it

You see the information requested is really compact and mostly easy to collect. You can just fill in the questionnaire and send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and our experts will provide you with a hybrid system design proposal.

If you have any questions left please leave a comment below and I will try to answer as soon as possible. I am excited about your feedback.

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Indian solar growth is a trajectory impressive enough to compete with dominant solar players. Lack of an industrial backing could not stop India from introducing renewable energy installations within the country. Current solar power capacity standing at 12 GW, and 14 GW capacity projects under construction and 6 GW to be auctioned assured a quick solar growth within the country.

Besides the on-grid solar development, policies and schemes offering custom duty concession, tax holidays, excise duty exemption, and accelerated depreciation, for commercial and industrial sectors, have also led rooftop solar installations to rise from 72 MW per year to 227 MW per year. It is astounding that Indian rooftop solar has surpassed 1 GW capacity, and promising at least 75 per cent growth in 2017 over 2016.

All these show tangible progress, building up the future that will substantiate ‘power for all’ vision of Indian Government leaders. However, we are still nowhere near the countries (China, US) that already dominate huge parts of the solar product supply chain. And it is important to contend with these countries to claim a larger part of the industry, bringing profit to initiate socio-economic reform in the country.

Domestic manufacturing can help India build solar reliance. However, as India does not have systematically enhanced (fashioned through decades) industrial support that countries like China, US, Canada are backed by, Indian solar sector needs financial and policy support from the government to mass produce solar components, controlling the price of the products. For example, Chinese modules are still 8-10 per cent cheaper than domestically manufactured modules (Chinese modules cost $0.33-$0.36 cents/per Watt p, while domestic modules cost $0.35-$0.40 cents/per Watt p). This has created an unfair competition within the Indian solar industry.

Although, Indian solar sector has seen support in guise of Government backing, concessions, and waivers on sales tax, excise duty, basic custom duty, total custom duty have encouraged and allowed domestic manufacturers to go toe-toe with the foreign players, protecting Indian dream of solar reliance ( because, without domestic manufacturers our energy growth and security would be at the mercy of foreign suppliers).

Let us look at the privileges Indian solar sector enjoyed:

Excise Duty: The Excise Duty on Manufacture of Solar Modules (HS Code 854140) is Nil vide exemption notification no. 12/2012 dated March 17, 2012

Sales Tax: The Sales Tax in the form of VAT/CST has been Zero Rated/NIL/Exempted in most of the states namely Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh etc.

Basic Custom Duty: The Basic Custom Duty on import of Solar Modules (HS Code 854140) is Nil vide exemption notification no. 24/2005 dated March 1, 2015

Total Custom Duty: The custom duty on import of Solar Modules is Nil, since Basic Custom Duty is Nil and CVD (in lieu of Excise Duty) is Nil so, SAD (in lieu of VAT) is Nil.

However, we fear that with 5 per cent added tax on solar modules, brought on by GST rates, the competition will intensify even more than it is currently now, cutting down the profit ratio considerably, forcing domestic manufacturers to sell modules at a loss. GST tax on modules will also increase overall project cost considerably, which will essentially make projects financially unviable (due to continuously falling solar tariffs), breeding confusion on ROI, thus scaring off investors.

Indian solar industry will eventually become a subsidy free sector, satisfying the energy demand and bringing profit in the country for socio-economic development. However, reaching such a position will take time. Currently India is at a nascent stage and needs support from Government for growth we have envisioned. Burdening this sector with taxes would not be the right path towards success. Waiving off taxes on modules on the other hand can help the sector grow and build solar capacities within the country to claim a piece of the global energy market.

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