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Rooftop Solar power in India becomes economical and lucrative even without Capital subsidies

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Rooftop Solar India

Distributed rooftop solar generation in India has been the poor cousin of utility scale solar power generation in India. Most government solar auctions, subsidies and incentives have gone to utility scale projects to scale up the power capacity quickly. Rooftop solar has been mostly been given token support by the government.

But the steep fall in solar projects costs means that solar energy on rooftops has started to become cheaper than grid /off grid alternative power in many segments and regions of India. Solar power from rooftop can be generated at Rs 7/ kWh (11c), which means that it is substantially cheaper than commercial and industrial tariffs in a lot of places. India’s convoluted electricity system subsidizes residential electricity tariffs by charging higher prices from commercial and industrial customers. This means that commercial and industrial customers frequently have to pay Rs 10/kWh for their grid power. Even this power is unreliable and they have to rely on diesel backup power, which is even more expensive at Rs 15/kWh. The same is the case with tons of other places in India which do not have access to the grid.

The increase in power prices in recent times have even made residential prices of electricity in India touch Rs 7-8/kWh in a number of places. Solar energy has become attractive for these places as it is cheaper and has a constant price over 25 years. There are many solar firms which are not charging any money upfront and giving power at a monthly payment aka Vivint Solar in the USA.

The improving economics of solar power can be seen at fuel retailers in India where many oil pumps are putting solar power systems, taking advantage of cheap loans from the large oil companies and benefiting from accelerated depreciation given to solar and wind power by the Indian fiscal authorities. Almost 1000 fuel retailers have already utilized this option and there are another 52000 pumps which can be targeted.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. pramod ranjan arora

    Rooftop, not the poor cousin. Its present target is 40GW by 2022. In the later stages rooftop target would be more than utility scale targets. Rooftop is really the future dream of India.