Empowering India: The Rise of Solar Panels and Rooftop Solar in Residential Communities

Vipin Tiwari, Corporate Strategy Manager, AXITEC Energy India Pvt. Ltd, leading solar module manufacturer

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India has experienced an amazing increase in the uptake of solar energy over the last few years, specifically in residential areas. This shows a move towards renewable energy and positive impacts for homeowners as well as communities around them. Explore the numbers and facts behind this change.

Solar Power in India – India gets lots of sunlight, about 5.3 kWh per square meter every day. This has led to a big increase in solar power. By 2023, India had over 50 gigawatts of solar power installed, with rooftop solar being a big part. The goal is to have 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022, showing a strong focus on renewable energy.

Helping Homeowners – Rooftop solar lets homeowners make their own power. The cost of solar panels has dropped about 80% in the last ten years, making solar power more affordable. The government also gives perks for rooftop solar. The PM KUSUM plan gives subsidies for solar setups to farmers and rural homeowners. Also, the Solar Rooftop Subsidy Scheme gives money for residential rooftop solar projects.

Government Help – The Indian government gives lots of financial help to boost the use of solar panels in different areas. For solar parks and big solar power projects, they provide a subsidy of 22 million per megawatt or 30% of the project’s cost, which includes grid-connectivity expenses. They also set aside 72.5 million for each plant for surveys and Detailed Project Reports.

Grid-connected rooftop installations under the PM Surya Ghar scheme benefit from a 30% subsidy of the benchmark cost for general sectors and 70% for residential, social, and institutional sectors. Subsidy for residential households stands at £30,000 per kW up to 2 kW, with a provision of 218,000 per kW for additional capacity up to 3 kW, while the total subsidy for systems larger than 3 kW is capped at $78,000. Making the scheme extremely attractive for residential homes with a provision for easy financing options, with minimal documentation.

Residential Rooftop Solar Growth – India’s residential rooftop solar capacity as of 31 March 2022 stood at 2,010 megawatts (MW) and has seen an increase of over 60% within a year whereby March 2023, the production stood at 3,214 MW according to the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis report.

Environmental Benefits – The environmental impact of rooftop solar is substantial. A single rooftop solar installation can offset several tons of carbon dioxide emissions over its lifespan. According to estimates, every megawatt-hour of solar electricity generated avoids approximately 0.75 to 1 ton of CO2 emissions compared to conventional fossil fuel-based power generation. With rooftop solar becoming more prevalent, these emissions savings are set to increase significantly, contributing to India’s climate goals.

Community Impact – Residential communities, including apartment complexes and housing societies, are embracing rooftop solar to meet their energy needs collectively. By pooling resources and investing in solar infrastructure, these communities can reduce their reliance on the grid and enjoy long-term cost savings. According to industry reports, the market for solar installations in residential communities is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 20% in the coming years.

Challenges and Opportunities – Despite the strides made, there are still obstacles to overcome in making rooftop solar common. These range from regulatory complexities to lack of finance and technical barriers. Nevertheless, these constraints present an opportunity for growth and innovation in the PV sector if they can be addressed adequately through strong government support policies and technological improvements. Net metering is one such policy that could address financing issues for people planning to install solar panels on their roofs; it would enhance the economic viability of this renewable energy’s implementation.

The Way Forward – In India, the advent of solar panels as well as rooftop solar in residential areas represents a major stride towards developing sustainable energy sources. With time, increased awareness and development of technology will unleash tremendous potential for solar power to change India’s energy scenario. Solar homeownership is not only environmentally friendly but also contributes to India’s energy independence and economic status quo since it relies heavily on solar power.

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