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Opinion piece by – Malvika Saini, Senior Manager, Marketing and ER, Amplus Solar
In August this year, the government of India launched a National Portal for Rooftop Solar installation- a one-stop-shop solution for homeowners who wish to apply for home solar in India. From letting them avail relevant subsidies within 15 days of registering to making it easier for them to find the solar installer of their choice, the portal closes the loop of home solar installations in just five easy steps after logging in.
Since its launch, almost a month back, there have been over 43000 registrations on the National Portal for the solar rooftop. It might look like a promising start, but there is a long way to go for a country with a recorded urban population of 493,169,259 (as of 2021).
So, where is the gap, then?
Rooftop Solar has a technical potential of 210 GW in urban areas in India, and the unprecedented pace of urbanisation is bound to push the demand for energy and the potential for residential rooftop solar further. The sector holds critical importance in achieving India’s ambitious target of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030 and helps homeowners make a responsible lifestyle choice that saves profits and the planet.
With objectives as necessary and timelines as pressing, the fact that only 6,111 MW (15 per cent) worth rooftop solar installations were done, as of November 2021, against the targeted number of 40 GW of installed solar capacity by 2022, can be attributed to lack of actionable and objective information, limited awareness of the technology, social acceptance, peer effects and lack of policy support.
A home solar plant is installed on the roof of a building or any open area within the permissible limit of the premise. These types of plants can vary, from being completely independent (off-grid) to being grid-dependent (on-grid) during the non-Sun hours/times. Hybrid home solar plants use the best of both on-grid (system) and off-grid (storage) rooftop solar plants.
In all these cases, reliable and cost-effective electricity is generated for private consumption. In on-grid home solar plants, the homeowner can also earn power credits by exporting the excess electricity generated back into the connected grid (DISCOM) through net-metering.
The National Solar Rooftop Policy bundles all this information and much more in one place, making it easy for customers to get the relevant subsidies and bringing transparency to the entire process of home solar installation. It accommodates lists of chosen vendors and module manufacturers, making it easier for homeowners to select the vendors of their preference. One can say that the launch of this portal is in the right direction, but there is more to the required push for RTS adoption in India.
A shift to solar is not just an operational shift but also a psychological one. Apart from the reasons stated above, the long and continuous way of using traditional grids has made a move away from it seem like a complicated process for consumers. Therefore, it will take immense knowledge sharing at the mass level to convince people about switching to solar. What can help are public-private mass awareness campaigns and a roadmap of community engagement further.
People have consumed the radiance and brilliance of our favourite star, to prosper in various verticals of life- science, agriculture, power generation etc, since forever. More than 73 million households in remote areas across the globe get electricity from solar lanterns, solar home systems (SHSs) that power several devices, and local solar-based microgrids. What is changing now, though, is the increasing appetite for solar in urban setups. While there is always scope for improvement in how the entire home solar ecosystem works- from monetary aids to seamless installations- the choice to live responsibly is one’s own. A switch to solar is a long-term investment into a brighter, better, and braver future.
Leap into the future and spread some good energy. Apply now and #GoSolar.