GoodWe held a brainstorming session recently to address the challenges faced by India’s residential solar rooftop sector. The virtual event, witnessed participation from some of India’s leading solar rooftop industry players from the sector, along with policy experts. The speakers deliberated upon the hurdles and recommended solutions to counter the obstacles.
Residential rooftop remains a massively underpenetrated segment of India’s solar market. Hopefully, with key stakeholders such as the central government, many state governments, and others, finally acknowledging their role in meeting climate objectives locally and at a country level, there is optimism for accelerated growth in this segment. This matter is the key issue of the webinar’s agenda.
Bhawna Tyagi, Programme Associate from the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW); Nilesh Mahajan, CEO of Roofsol Solar Private Limited; Puneet Randhawa, AVP operations at Solar Square Energy; and Kevin George, Sales Head (South India) from Goodwe, shared their insights during the programme.
During the webinar, Tyagi highlighted why India’s residential rooftop solar remained primarily confined to urban areas. She stressed that often, rooftop solar (RTS) consumers are small consumers of solar power and thus grapple with myriad challenges, unlike the large commercial and industrial segment consumers. From awareness to financing to platforms, all were flagged by her as major issues.
“They are mostly smaller consumers with a capacity ranging from 1 kW-3kW. There is a higher consumer acquisition cost for financial institutions. There is also a risk of default associated with this for such institutions. Assessing the consumers’ financial credibility in rural areas is often tough for financial institutions. Thus, consumers in such areas will face financing at higher interest rates. These add up to the hurdles of rural consumers. That is why RTS has been a success mostly in the urban centers of India,” Tyagi said.
When asked about the importance of subsidies in adopting RTS in the country, Puneet said that most of Solar Square’s RTS consumers came with subsidy backing, indicating the continuing relevance of subsidies in the RTS segment.
“A lot of domestic consumers appreciate the role of subsidies, and it plays a key role in the faster adoption of the technology,” he said. He added that with increased awareness over the next 5-6 years, there would be more demand for the RTS without much dependency on subsidies. Puneet also said that the RTS market without subsidy backing is still nascent in India.
Nilesh from Roofsol pointed out that some of the Indian states, like Gujarat, fared well in the solar rooftop sector because the state agencies involved in the process made the whole process seamless.
“The state government and concerned agencies took very good steps to make the whole process seamless. Due to this, the whole process is easier for the consumers to come on board. The registration, the empanelment of the developers, installation, and the direct support to the consumers aided in the faster adoption of the RTS in the state,” he said. He also noted that other states are now following suit, and expressed hope that with more government support and increased awareness, RTS would witness an appreciable rise in the country in the coming days.
Kevin put up the perspective from South India, noting that besides the good performance of states like Gujarat, some southern Indian states like Kerala and Karnataka had been upbeat. He explained, “In states like Kerala and Karnataka also, the growth of RTS has been good, and there is a consistent rise in demand and installations. It is also because of the higher subsidies the consumers get here, which is around, up to 70 percent. ”
Speakers expressed unanimous optimism regarding the future of residential rooftop solar, with almost all positives converging to drive growth in this hitherto underperforming segment. They agreed that limited risks remain, with capacity constraints being the last risk factor, set to be overcome as domestic manufacturing capacities significantly increase by 2025.
GoodWe has emerged as a strong player in the solar inverter segment for this category, building upon a core portfolio that covers every requirement in rooftop solar. With installations across every state and a strong brand connection, GoodWe understands market requirements well and hopes to support market growth with its product portfolio in the future.