'Upfront capital investment issue for popularisation of rooftop solar even in Delhi'
New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Even for a rich-city state such as Delhi, the upfront capital investment required for a roof-top solar (RTS) system is still a barrier for a large section of residential consumers, according to a latest study.
Affordable and accessible financing options are required to convert consumer interest to on-the-ground installations, finds the study implemented by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and others in two urban areas of Delhi.
With a technical potential of 210 GW in urban areas, residential rooftop solar (RTS) holds critical importance in achieving India's ambitious target of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030. RTS also presents economic and environmental savings for consumers and electricity distribution companies (discoms).
However, RTS deployment in general has remained poor - 6.4 GW of installed capacity against the total solar installed capacity of 49.34 GW. In fact, a recent report earlier in the month pointed out that India is set to miss the 2022 solar target by 27 per cent as it is projected to fall well short of its target for 2022 of having 100 GW of installed solar capacity, largely due to slow uptake of rooftop solar.
With an aim to accelerate residential RTS adoption in India, the US-India Clean Energy Finance Task Force, co-led by the US Department of State and Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), piloted the Solarise Delhi campaigns that involved interactions with the community, both in person and virtually in view of the pandemic. The campaigns successfully engaged with 1,400 consumers over three months, and generated interest for 140 kW of RTS installations.
The findings and recommendations of the study report by Akash Som Gupta, Bhawna Tyagi, Neeraj Kuldeep and Selna Saji, 'Unlocking Demand for Residential Rooftop Solar in India: Learnings from Solarise Delhi Campaigns' included suggested that by bundling together information in one place, providing compelling offers, and leveraging community trust, the Solarise pilot campaigns very effectively initiated conversations and elicited consumer interest in RTS in an innovative manner.
The study also pointed out that with committed stakeholders and a supportive ecosystem including financing options, Solarise campaigns (and campaigns of a similar nature) can become a powerful tool for increasing RTS adoption in the residential sector.
The Solarise campaigns were also effective in raising consumer awareness about RTS with 43 per cent of the participants stating that the campaigns helped increase their awareness levels.
Along with the two power discoms, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL), the Solarise campaign pilots were implemented by collaborating partners of the Task Force - the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), SmartPower Inc., and WeeGreen Inc - along with the local discoms and Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) to increase the adoption of RTS at the household level.