The Indian Government Wants to Scale Rooftop Solar 100 fold between 2015 and 2022. Is This Possible?

Sweet Answer from Solar Mango: (updated Jul 2015)

India has currently (Jul 2015) a cumulative installed base of about 400 MW in rooftop solar. The NDA government wishes to scale rooftop solar to 40,000 MW by 2022.

A 100-FOLD increase in 7 years. A tall order, by any standards, and for any part of the world.

Is such a stunningly ambitious target unrealistic? Or does the government have a plan?

Based on Solar Mango’s analysis of the Indian government’s published strategies as well as based on interactions with the relevant bureaucrats, we feel that the government is very serious about this target and is not taking it lightly. A pointer in this context is the detailed state-wise targets for rooftop solar that the government released for this sector in early Jul 2015. The government also appears to have understood the drivers and the constraints.

That is the good news.

What is not clear at this stage is whether the government will move fast enough to implement a number of policy and infrastructural initiatives that are required to move the rooftop solar sector forward.

Some of the key initiatives that the government needs to move on include

  • Acting firmly on the capital subsidies (either remove these or provide these without delay),
  • Implementing Net Metering, and not just for domestic consumers, also for industrial and commercial sectors (this is challenging as the state DISCOMS need to be the key stakeholders for this to happen)
  • Bringing in tough measures/legislations that make it mandatory for certain types of businesses to have rooftop solar (say, government buildings or commercial buildings beyond a certain size).

If the above and other relevant initiatives are implemented, reaching 40 GW on rooftop solar by 2022 is just about possible.

It should be noted that for many regions in India, for industrial and commercial sectors, solar power from rooftop is already cost competitive with grid power. Hence, what these sectors require are clarity on subsidies (so that their internal decision making is accelerated) and quick implementation of Net Metering and monetization for the same (without which they lose out on wasted solar power generation during holidays)

Update Aug 2015: Recently, MNRE,the Indian Ministry for New & Renewable Energy, released its year-wise targets to achieve the 40 GW installed rooftop solar capacity, as follows:


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