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India has been witnessing an acute power shortage, primarily due to the disruptions in the supply of coal, spike in the price of imported coal for coastal plants and high prices on the power exchange. Recently, the energy deficit has reached up to five per cent at the national level, with some states witnessing even more deficit. For the country, to address its deepening power crisis, a transition from the conventional source of energy like fossil fuel to alternate sources like solar and wind has become imperative.
One of the major renewable energy technologies that can play a key role in replacing the conventional sources of energy and ensure power sufficiency is the rooftop solar. Installation of the rooftop solar plant can not only assure uninterrupted power supply but may also bring down the electricity bill of the consumers and helps the government to achieve its sustainable development goals (SDGs) as committed at the Paris Agreement.
In simple words, a rooftop solar plant refers to the setting up of solar panels on the top of residential and commercial buildings. The photovoltaics (PV) cells in the panels absorbs radiations from the sun and converts it into energy; thereby leading towards the creation of electric current. The key advantage of solar rooftop is that it is less costly as compared to the conventional electric supply. There are also certain government subsidies that make solar rooftops more feasible for the consumers.
Generally, the solar rooftops come with a life expectancy of up to 25 years and require only basic maintenance like cleaning and minor repairs. It takes no additional land as can easily be set up on the roof of a building. In a nutshell, solar rooftop plant can not only secure the energy needs of a consumer but also help reducing the overall carbon footprint of the country by restricting the emission of greenhouse gases.
The significant growth in the deployment of renewable energy since 2016 has to some extent averted the mass scale power crisis in the country. For India to reach a sustainable future with no power shortage, there is need for a robust infrastructure for the steady deployment of solar energy, with rooftop solar being the most feasible option. A collaborative and strategic
intervention of the government and renewable energy players in the country has the potential to curb the power crisis within a year.
The government, with a renewed focus on sustainable development, has increased its targets to reach 300 GW of solar energy installation by 2030. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) data, India has surpassed Italy to clinch the fifth global position in solar power deployment, while the top four countries remain to be China, the United States, Japan and Germany.
To ensure a steady installation of the targeted solar rooftops, the government is working aggressively to address key challenges like regulatory roadblocks, net metering limits, basic customs duty (BCD) on imported cells and modules, issues with the approved list of models and manufacturers (ALMM), unsigned power supply agreements (PSAs), banking restrictions, etc.
The government is also keen to take immediate measures to curb the electricity crisis through the steadfast installation of rooftop solar. Departments in concern now have enhanced focus on formulating applications to bless the sector with uniform policies for at least the next five years. Besides, they are deliberate on simplifying regulations for net metering and banking facilities, and strict enforcement of the renewable purchase obligation (RPO) by states, and capital subsidy for battery energy storage systems (BESS). In other words, a lot of positive policies and actions can be anticipated and soon the energy sector will be able to meet the internationally stated 2030 targets.
By Mr. Gautam Mohanka, Managing Director, Gautam Solar