Maharashtra leads with most rooftop solar installations in India

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Of 1,095 megawatt rooftop solar capacity in India, Maharashtra leads the way with maximum number of installations and capacity at 145.09MW, according to data from the ministry of new and renewable energy.

Officials said 60% installations are from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Aurangabad and remaining from rural areas across the state that have adopted solar in the form of water heaters.

A 2017 study by the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and think tank Observer Research Foundation found that Mumbai has the potential to generate 1.72gigawatt peak solar power per annum through photovoltaic panels installed atop buildings. This means solar energy can take care of half of Mumbai’s power needs, which has an annual demand of around 3.4gigawatt. Currently, the city generates only 5megawatt peak power solar energy — 0.3% of its potential.

Gujarat was a close second to Maharashtra in the list with 136.21MW capacity, followed by Tamil Nadu (123.91MW), Karnataka (104.82MW), Rajasthan (78.94MW) and Haryana (76.95MW).

MNRE officials said India has set a target of reaching 40gigawatt rooftop solar capacity by 2022.

“The state-wise grid connected rooftop solar power plant capacity in India is getting stronger each day. Over the past two years (2016-18), ₹842 crore has been released to state governments and implementing agencies to install such rooftop plants. A number of initiatives have also been undertaken, both at the Central and state levels, to have wider rooftop solar connectivity in rural and urban areas,” said RK Singh, minister of state, MNRE, who also presented the data in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Officials in the state government said while it was good news that Mahrashtra leads the way, more needs to be done. “We have already moved in the direction to adopt pilot villages and convert them completely to solar, including cooking, water heating and common lighting. Once this happens, we might be able to eliminate our fossil fuel need,” said Satish Gavai, additional chief secretary, industries, energy and labour department. SP Gon Chaudhuri, chairman, International Solar Innovation Council, a global body of solar energy experts, and a scientist who developed the first rooftop solar programme in India, said the target for 2022 maybe tough to meet.

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