The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many issues across the globe. It also highlighted the necessity for dependable health care and infrastructure in countries like India to deliver lifesaving refrigerated vaccines. In areas of Delhi, the NCR’s struggles with seasonal heatwaves and blackouts made people realize the importance of renewable energy, particularly solar rooftop plants in Ghaziabad and nearby regions. For many people, especially in India’s rural communities where the pandemic is causing havoc, having access to hospitals and medicines might be the difference between life and death.
India was keen to reap the benefits of solar electricity long before COVID-19 struck. By 2022, the country has set a lofty goal for itself: 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power capacity. This would be beneficial to its commercial and industrial customers, who account for 74% of installed energy capacity, compared to only 13% for residential customers and public sector entities. Let’s take a look at some of the current solar power trends, fallacies, and policies that the government should keep in mind as it plans for increased solar power adoption in the country.
Trends about Solar Rooftop Plants
India’s solar industry has reached a significant milestone. In India, more than 25 GW of rooftop solar capacity has been installed. However, to achieve the mission’s lofty purpose, it must overcome the barrier of target bifurcation. The remaining 60 GW capacity is planned to be reached by utility-scale solar farms, with rooftop solar accounting for 40 GW of the total target. Rooftop solar installation is currently increasingly decentralized across the country, accounting for less than 2.5 GW of total solar capacity installed. As a result, the government faces a difficult task if it is to meet its goal based on the current bifurcation.
Interestingly, despite the lack of explicit programs, the rooftop solar business grew by 75 percent year over year in 2018, according to a report. Improved project economics, which is a result of rising grid charges and lower solar prices in India. Another element that contributed to this development was a growing awareness of the benefits of solar rooftop projects among both commercial and industrial consumers. The solar rooftop power plant in Indirapuram is a great alternative for the power requirements of industry owners because industrial and commercial consumers pay the most for grid electricity and are the ones who stand to benefit the most from this alternative energy source.
Corporates are also becoming more interested in the build-own-operate concept. The solar developer is liable for solar power plant investments under this arrangement, whereas the owner merely pays per kWh of power generated. This concept enables businesses throughout the country to avoid the high-risk investment paradigm and instead obtain solar power at a lower cost than the usual grid price. Grid parity is the term for this setup. Grid parity has now reached India’s industrial and commercial users.
Because India is located in a tropical region, much of the country is suited for solar power generation. Tamil Nadu is the state with the most solar rooftop installations. Rooftop projects, on the other hand, are well-represented around the country. Unfortunately, this is not the case with solar farms. Such endeavors necessitate ongoing government assistance.
When it comes to the relevance and adoption of solar power in India, however, the residential sector has a different narrative to tell. According to Adler Group, in the residential sector, none of India’s states have achieved grid parity. This is due to the fact that Indian home customers pay less for electricity than industrial and commercial customers. Second, customers will not be able to afford small-scale solar installations for their homes. As a result, for the home solar sector in India to take off, improved project economics and effective government backing are critical.
Myths about Solar Power Plants
The majority of people believe that solar is an expensive source of energy. Although the initial cost may be expensive, the investment will appear to be lucrative over the course of 25 years, which is the usual life of a solar plant. This is especially true for rooftop solar projects, which eliminate transmission costs and losses.
Many people regard the solar power plant in Delhi, NCR, as a relatively new technology, and they are concerned about potential performance concerns. This technology has been around since the early 1950s and has progressed slowly but gradually. Solar technology is now rather stable, with a lengthy and successful track record. The technology is more dependable and requires less maintenance than other forms of energy generation. Even if solar power creation fluctuates from day to day and month to month, due to the regular amount of sunshine received year after year, overall power production remains consistent in the long run.
Another myth is that solar energy can only be used to generate electricity in exceptionally sunny areas. However, in comparison to popular belief, the variance in solar power generation among geographies is too minor. Solar plants will operate well across the country, except for the northeastern section of India and parts of the Himalayan belt. And if you are planning to install a solar rooftop plant in Vasundhara, then it’s a great idea, as the region receives a good amount of sunlight.
Users are also hesitant to adopt solar technology because they see it as a limited power-producing option. This is attributable to the fact that solar electricity can only be generated during the day, and surplus power storage is costly. This is true for standalone solar power plants, but solar power variations can be easily absorbed when integrated with other grid sources of power. When the amount of power generated by wind or solar grows, the grid will have to utilize a variety of technologies to balance the power generated by other sources. These include improved transmission infrastructure, a proper mix of power generation from various sources, and the utilization of energy storage batteries, among other things.
Policies for Solar Rooftop Power Plants
Solar energy’s importance and potential are being recognized by India’s central and state governments, as well as the business sector. The fact that India is expected to be the third-largest market for solar PV in 2018 demonstrates this. However, to meet the Central Government’s ambitious solar aim, both the government and the private sector will need to improve the structure and opportunities for solar.
The government must recognize that the solar business in India requires uniform policies to be implemented. For example, net metering allows consumers to obtain a credit on their electricity bill by storing excess solar power in the grid while it is not in use. This aids in resolving the demand-supply imbalance. In a nutshell, net metering makes use of the grid as a massive battery to store energy. Many rooftop solar plants will require a battery backup to store power and level out usage throughout the day if net metering is not available. Even if the cost of batteries is steadily decreasing, solar plants may not appear financially advantageous at this time when battery expenses are factored in.
Although net metering is a crucial part of rooftop solar systems, it has been slow to adopt. While some states have limitations and other arbitrary restrictions when it comes to enacting net metering rules, others impose a limit on the number of solar projects that can benefit from this policy. This prevents customers from getting the most out of their rooftop solar panels.
Overall, India has a lot of potential for solar energy. After interaction with the top 10 solar companies in Delhi, NCR, we can say the solar sector has a lot to offer, from improving power supply to permitting cheaper electricity, and from reducing air pollution to combating climate change.