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Rooftop Solar Installations Fell 29%

Context:

Rooftop solar capacity installations in India fell 29% to 320 megawatt (MW) in July-September 2022, according to Mercom Research India. 

Relevance:

GS III- Environment

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is India’s solar policy?
  2. Reasons for rooftop solar adoption not meeting targets
  3. How critical is solar power to India’s commitment to mitigate climate change?

What is India’s solar policy?

Since 2011, India’s solar sector has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 59% from 0.5GW in 2011 to 55GW in 2021.

National Solar Mission (NSM):
  • The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), also known as the National Solar Mission (NSM), which commenced in January 2010, marked the first time the government focussed on promoting and developing solar power in India.
  • Under the scheme, the total installed capacity target was set as 20GW by 2022.
  • In 2015, the target was revised to 100GW and in August 2021, the government set a solar target of 300GW by 2030.
  • India currently ranks fifth after China, U.S., Japan and Germany in terms of installed solar power capacity.
  • As of December 2021, the cumulative solar installed capacity of India is 55GW, which is roughly half the renewable energy (RE) capacity (excluding large hydro power) and 14% of the overall power generation capacity of India.
  • Within the 55GW, grid-connected utility-scale projects contribute 77% and the rest comes from grid-connected rooftop and off-grid projects.

Reasons for rooftop solar adoption not meeting targets:

  • In December 2015, the government launched the first phase of the grid-connected rooftop solar programme to incentivise its use in residential, institutional and social areas.
  • The second phase, approved in February 2019, had a target of 40GW of cumulative rooftop solar capacity by 2022, with incentives in the form of central financial assistance (CFA).
  • As of November 2021, of the phase 2 target of 4GW set for the residential sector, only 1.1GW had been installed.
  • Factors impeding rooftop-solar installation include ,
    • Pandemic-induced supply chain disruption to policy restrictions,
    • Regulatory roadblocks;
    • Limits to net-metering (or paying users who give back surplus electricity to the grid);
    • Taxes on imported cells and modules,
    • Unsigned power supply agreements (PSAs)
    • Banking restrictions;
    • Financing issues plus delays in or rejection of open access approval grants;
    • Unpredictability of future open access charges,
  • Recently, however, there has been a sharp rise in rooftop solar installations thanks to falling technology costs, increasing grid tariffs, rising consumer awareness and the growing need for cutting energy costs.

How critical is solar power to India’s commitment to mitigate climate change?

  • Solar power is a major prong of India’s commitment to address global warming according to the terms of the Paris Agreement, as well as achieving net zero, or no net carbon emissions, by 2070.
  • Prime Minister at the United Nations Conference of Parties meeting in Glasgow, in November 2021, said India would be reaching a non-fossil fuel energy capacity of 500 GW by 2030 and meet half its energy requirements via renewable energy by 2030.
  • To boost the renewable energy installation drive in the long term, the Centre in 2020 set a target of 450GW of RE-based installed capacity to be achieved by 2030, within which the target for solar was 300GW.
  • Given the challenge of integrating variable renewable energy into the grid, most of the RE capacity installed in the latter half of this decade is likely to be based on wind solar hybrid (WSH), RE-plus-storage and round-the-clock RE projects rather than traditional solar/wind projects, according to the report.
  • On the current trajectory, the report finds, India’s solar target of 300GW by 2030 will be off the mark by about 86GW, or nearly a third.

-Source: The Hindu


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