The installed solar capacity in the past 12 months (i.e., 240 MW) was almost equivalent to what the country added in the past three years combined, according to a report by Bridge to India, a global renewable energy consulting firm.
The findings of the study also pointed out that India is fast approaching nationwide grid parity for all rooftop segments, particularly the commercial and industrial segments. Six new states have achieved grid parity for commercial consumers bringing the total number of grid parity states to 19. Similarly, six new states have also achieved grid parity in the industrial segment increasing the total number of grid parity states to 17.
“This capacity addition comes at a time when the government has gradually started withdrawing the capital subsidies and the market grew mostly on its fundamentals,” said Vinay Rustagi, Managing Director, Bridge to India. “going forward, we expect tremendous growth opportunities in the rooftop solar market in India in next few years fuelled mainly by reducing solar costs, increasing grid tariffs, increased customer awareness, robust policy support and on-ground implementation of net-metering across all states,” he added.
In the next 12 months alone, 455 MW of new capacity addition is expected.
Sun shines brighter in TN
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu is racing ahead in installations of rooftop solar capacity. With a capacity addition of 76 MW, Tamil Nadu topped the rooftop solar table. “Its sterling performance, especially in the industrial segment, can be attributed to high consumer awareness, high industrial and commercial tariffs and a wide gap between energy demand and supply in the highly industrialised state,” the report said.
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Power, Piyush Goyal indicated that country’s rooftop solar policy was ready to be placed before the Union Cabinet for approval. However, experts are of the view that if the new policy does not introduce mandatory rooftop solar installations for buildings, the policy release will likely be a non-event.
When the cabinet passed the 100 GW target in June 2015, the Cabinet note mentioned several possible initiatives such as implementing mandatory rooftop installations for private power consumers. The note also suggested making net-metering compulsory by incorporating measures in the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS).
Further action on compulsory net-metering by power distribution companies and mandates on building owners to install rooftop solar can provide a significant fillip to the market. Given that most of the other initiatives have already been announced, if the rooftop solar policy fails to elaborate on such new measures, its release will largely be a non-event.
Renewable capacity addition
The renewable energy sector in the country has registered strong growth in new capacity addition during the first half of this fiscal when compared with corresponding period of the previous fiscal. The segment added 1629 MW of new capacity during April-September 2015 as against 1094 MW in the year-ago period, posting a growth of about 49 per cent.
A KPMG report has predicted a solar generation price of Rs.4.20/kWh by 2020. The market penetration of solar power could be 5.7 per cent (54 GW) by 2020 and 12.5 per cent (166 GW) in energy terms by 2025. Along with wind power, renewable energy could constitute a significant 20 per cent of our power mix in energy terms by 2025.
Interestingly, solar power tariff has touched an all-time low of Rs 4.63 per unit in India. Weighted average quoted tariff at the closing of an e-reverse auction was Rs 4.63/Kwhr, with reduction of Rs 0.704/ Kwhr in the reverse auction. SunEdison won the 500 MW project in Andhra Pradesh at the rate of Rs 4.63 per kilowatt-hour (KWh or unit).