• An Indian Parliamentary Panel has submitted its report to the Indian Parliament terming the rooftop solar target of 40 GW by 2022 as unrealistic
  • It states that it is highly unlikely that the target will be achieved
  • It considers that rooftop solar systems are not remunerative for the end user as their maintenance cost is very high
  • The panel has asked the government to reconsider the target

An Indian Parliamentary Panel has confirmed what some industry analysts and market experts have been maintaining for quite a while. It has termed Indian government’s rooftop solar target of 40 GW by 2022 as ‘unrealistic’. The panel has asked the government to reconsider the target, as reported by Indian press agency Press Trust of India (PTI).  

In the latest report submitted to the Indian Parliament, the Standing Committee on Energy (2016-17) stated, “The Committee feels that the rooftop solar target of 40 GW by 2022 is unrealistic and it is highly unlikely that this target will be achieved.”

The panel believes rooftop solar systems were not remunerative enough for consumers as the maintenance cost is very high for the same, according to PTI.

India, under the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi, had increased the installed solar power capacity target from 20 GW to 100 GW by 2022. Of this, 60 GW is to come from large scale solar PV plants and 40 GW from rooftop solar systems. A few years from the target year, India’s installed PV capacity stood at a little over 12 GW as of March 31, 2017 (see India Installed Over 5 GW In FY 2016-17).   

In a study on the subject, industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and NEC Technologies has rung alarm bells for the solar industry. They argue that the country needs to ramp up the pace of solar capacity additions by 10 GW this year and more than 15 GW per year thereafter to be able to meet the 100 GW target.

A recent Bridge to India report pegged cumulative rooftop solar power capacity at 1,396 MW as of March 2017, adding 678 MW in 2016-17. It argues the market is ‘beginning to realize its potential’. However, it expects the country to achieve only 13.2 GW of rooftop solar capacity by 2021.  

IHS Markit solar analyst Dharmendra Kumar told TaiyangNews that to be able to achieve the remaining 39 GW by 2022, India would need to speed up and install 8 GW annually every year. Most of the rooftop capacity has been installed by the commercial and industrial sector. A majority of government buildings are old and not suitable for rooftop solar installation, he emphasized. Residential consumers or developers, he argued, don’t end up receiving the 30% subsidy promised by the government. This is what forced SECI to bring down rooftop solar tender capacity of 1 GW to 500 MW.   

“Poor net-metering implementation is also one of the reasons why rooftop installation is not getting its impetus. Though many of the states have already announced their net-metering policies, it has not been implemented well,” said Kumar.