Factors That Will Further Aid Solar Rooftop Installation In Punjab & Haryana

0
223

Rooftop solar is mainly installed for captive consumption and the installation starts from 1kWp and can go up to 1MW. Generally, most of the installed capacity is between 1 kWp and 20 kWp. While rooftop solar installation and generating power might have caught the fancy of micro and small units, offices, schools, hospitals and households in the states of Punjab and Haryana, with solar rooftop power generation from these two states has touched 245 MW last year, according to a news media report.

The rooftop solar installations are much smaller in terms of generation capacity, in comparison to the ground-mounted projects. In Haryana, the solar power is dominated by rooftop plants of 145 MW (on residential and commercial buildings). The total installed capacity of solar power in the state is 225 MW, including ground-mounted installations. However, in the neighbouring state of Punjab, the rooftop capacity is 100 MW.

The rooftop solar installations are much smaller in terms of generation capacity, in comparison to the ground-mounted projects. In Haryana, the solar power is dominated by rooftop plants of 145 MW (on residential and commercial buildings). The total installed capacity of solar power in the state is 225 MW, including ground-mounted installations. However, in the neighbouring state of Punjab, the rooftop capacity is 100 MW.

Since the cost of generating solar power has fallen sharply over the years, it has led to wider adoption and installation of rooftop solar in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Plus, the government’s decision to increase subsidy from 30% to 40% on rooftop solar plants (up to 3 kWp capacity) will further give fillip to new installations. The subsidy amount has been fixed at 20% for 4 kWp to 10 kWp solar plants. In view of the current industry scenario, there are few hiccups to solar rooftop installation in the states of Punjab and Haryana.

We understand from experts on the next steps to implement that will aid the future growth of the India solar story and promote rooftop solar installations in the states leading up North.

Mr. Kunal Munshi, Founder, Sunrator Technologies LLP

With 34% of our solar power targets being met of the 100GW to be achieved by 2022, the Indian solar story is at its climax! Mind it the 34GW is 170% higher than the original target of 20GW to be achieved in the same time pre-2014. Majority of these installations are ground mount utility scale, over 90% to be precise. Despite significant progress in rooftop solar installations, the 100GW target was originally subdivided into 40GW for rooftop and the remaining for ground mount. Reaching the target of 40 GW rooftop installations by 2022 will not only be challenging but seems impossible by most optimistic forecasting, even though India might install somewhere close to the overall set targets.

industrial or commercial power consumers. Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA) estimates that for the next three years, the rooftop solar installation will grow at a CAGR of 50%, suggesting a cumulative 13 GW of installed capacity by FY22, which still falls short of 27GW or 67% of the target.

Though the country’s total solar installed capacity has reached 33.73 GW as of December 31, 2019. 25GW are under the Implementation/ construction stages and another 25GW is tendered for future implementation, thus making the sector poised to achieve its ground mount targets in the next 2 Years.

Factors that would catalyze growth are:

Stable and Uniform Net Metering Policy Across the Country

Although 27 states and union territories have issued net metering policies or regulations since the issue of the model net metering regulations in 2013, only a few states have begun actual implementation of the policy on the ground. The slow or patchy progress in the net-metering policy can be attributed primarily to issues like lack of clear policy frameworks, passive opposition from DISCOMs and insufficient awareness cum training at the local utility level.

There needs to be uniformity at the policy level to catalyze the adaptation of rooftop solar for consumers, uncertainty in regulations is slowing the pace of rooftop installation by C&I consumers. Taking cues from the Maharashtra net metering fiasco, where the DISCOM wanted to revert the net metering to gross metering, thus putting the whole rooftop market in jeopardy, it is time that the central government steps in and helps various DISCOMs create a policy environment across the country around net-metering, thus making stable and uniform laws that won’t be subject to whims and fancies of individual state distribution companies. This will help build investor confidence and attract investments in the sector.

Though it is easier said than done as it would dismantle the equilibrium created by the cross-subsidies that becomes a taboo even to talk about.

Access to Finance

Limited access to debt finance due to perceived high risks and suspicion about performance for this relatively new sector within the financial community is a deterrent to growth in solar. Banks and FIs are reluctant to lend to solar rooftop projects and borrowing costs can be as high as 12% or more when they do lend.

Due to the smaller size of the projects in the rooftop solar sector, developers do not approach banks for loans because of the proportionately higher transactional cost per unit of the project cost. Here the small retail consumer has to go through the personal loan route if incase he desires to finance his rooftop solar power plant. It would make a lot of sense if a new sub category can be placed in the existing home loans to install solar power in already constructed houses at the same interest rate, without having the need to hypothecate the whole house instead just the installed solar power system. The finance would be easier to access and the banks can do the local due vigilance on the consumer’s credit history instead of a central rating requirement.

Consumer perception of risks and performance

Even after a decade of proliferation, solar power is still perceived as a relatively new technology especially amongst the retail consumers and therefore there is a perception that it may not perform as expected over its lifetime. Also, there are trust issues as several entrepreneurs in the rooftop solar market are comparatively new with a little track record and maintenance of quality and customer service is always uncertain.

Few policy level steps that the agencies involved can take to reduce the confusion about the retail are:

� The involvement of too many agencies like MNRE, IREDA, SNA, and electricity board and electricity regulatory commission makes the development of solar PV projects difficult.

� Generation-based incentives should be offered rather than subsidy. This data can be easily available in electricity bills, this would make the financing of the plant also easier. � The net metering procedure should be time-bound with online single window process on ground and not on papers as it is now, and the net meter should be fitted within one month from the date of application.

� The net metering procedure should be time-bound with online single window process on ground and not on papers as it is now, and the net meter should be fitted within one month from the date of application.

Even though India has the lowest capital cost per MW globally to install solar power plants and the current installation have grown exponentially in the past half-decade, yet solar only accounts for 3% of the total power consumed in the country, and about 10% of the total installed power capacity of India. This on a positive note leaves the sector accessible for growth in the coming decade.

Mr. Sushil Sarawgi, Director, Kor Energy India Pvt Ltd

Better awareness about the benefits of rooftop solar needs to be created for residential, commercial and industrial sectors by government, social and industrial bodies as well as solar industry. Good projects should be showcased to consumers and live existing projects will help them get better understanding and develop confidence in technology.

Better awareness about the benefits of rooftop solar needs to be created for residential, commercial and industrial sectors by government, social and industrial bodies as well as solar industry. Good projects should be showcased to consumers and live existing projects will help them get better understanding and develop confidence in technology. Haryana face a lot of problems in getting adjustment of exported units in the electricity bills. This leads to bad word of mouth publicity about Net Metering benefits from the existing users of rooftop solar energy.

Delay in disbursement of subsidy is one major reason why residential customers were not going for rooftop solar. Now with new policy of upfront subsidy there should be better adoption of rooftop solar energy by them.

There is a subsidy for cold storages from Horticulture Board for adoption of Rooftop Solar by them up to 35 percent of project cost. As there are a good number of cold storages in both Punjab and Haryana. If this subsidy benefit is properly marketed, it will result in better adoption of rooftop solar by cold storage facilities in the states.

Mr. Brhamesh Alipuria, Director and Founder, Direct Watts SET Pvt. Ltd.

Net Metering process clarity and time bound approvals

There has to be clarity within the DISCOMs (PSPCL in Punjab) (UHBVN and DHBVN in Haryana) about the Net metering process and the required documentation. The documents for submissions must be clearly defined. Approval must be time bound. There are going to be fundamentally 4 stages:

1.In principal approval required for setting up of net metering and solar connection as per regulation of the state.

2. Electrical Inspection / CEIG required once the solar plant is installed by the consumer. Defined checklists should be there on the basis of objections may be raised.

3. Meter checking and changing also known as plant commissioning as the maximum benefit of net metering can only be achieved, once the Net Meter has been replaced.

4. Net Metering Agreement often ignored and unaware, the net metering agreement is not done with the user, where the benefit of time can be challenged for the user. Many clarifications are required on validity of such agreement and benefits to the consumer.

Futile Empanelment Process

Once the above process is streamlined, the requirements for vendor empanelment would not be there. This is the process in which governments are wasting a lot of their time and money. It is also confusing the consumers. The rates being discovered are only bringing the quality of the system down and are often not practical.

No Need for Awareness Programs or Subsidy

In my experience, if the government focuses only on the first step and executes it properly, the advantages of solar power along with the various industries associated with it, will automatically be promoted among the masses. Further, with the current prices, the system is affordable to most who understand the benefits of it and there is no need for subsidy. Subsidy process might be hampering the growth of solar at this time.

Financing and Tax Benefits

Instead of subsidy, the government should instruct banks to develop products for solar financing like vehicles and homes. Further, the GST on solar should be reduced and Individual Tax Benefits could be provided to encourage quick adoption of solar.

Growing Demand

The power demand is expected to grow rapidly with the introduction of Electric Vehicles (EVs). Further, industry boosts would lead to growth in demand. In view of the current scenario, lack of awareness amongst

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.