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Local utility Red Tape makes Rooftop Solar a tough sell in the Indian market

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Utilities pose problems for Rooftop Solar in India

India has set a lofty target of achieving 40,000 MW of solar rooftop capacity by 2022, but unlike the ground mounted plants, the growth in the solar rooftop market has been slow and tedious. The main reason is that unlike the ground mounted plants, the involvement of the local distribution utility is quite high. Also retail consumers have a tough time wading the notoriously difficult and corrupt network of utility bureaucracy.

Filling in the forms, getting them passed is problematic for consumers and given that the incentives for rooftop solar are not very high, only a few people would make the effort of going through so much pain. While the central government has been pushing the states to increase their rooftop solar capacity, the on ground implementation has been very poor. A number of states have passed net metering laws, the awareness and implementation has still been pathetic. Instead of helping consumers, utilities are creating roadblocks by creating delays and charging consumers for even basic equipment such as bidirectional meters.

Also read Why Rooftop Solar is still not popular in India.

It will be a long hard slog for residential rooftop solar in India to grow, given that most distribution utilities in India are state owned and highly corrupt and inefficient. Most utilities do not have the competence and motivation to provide even the basic electricity service, forget about helping consumers install rooftop solar systems. Rooftop solar can primarily grow in industrial and commercial establishments who can grease the wheels of bureaucracy. Government departments can also take up rooftop solar as they will not face so many hurdles as the common consumers.

 

The rooftop solar policy was announced in December 2015 more but MSEDCL is yet to purchase net meters. In fact, the discom took weeks to finalize the specifications of meters to be purchased by consumers. During this period, all the applications for rooftop solar systems were stuck. No wonder only five consumers have gone in for rooftop solar systems so far in the district.

A consumer preferring anonymity told TOI, “The application form is available online. The consumer has to fill it up and submit it at MSEDCL’s division or sub-division office. The officials have to register the application and issue a demand note in three days. MSEDCL officials are violating the deadline in most cases and you have to run from pillar to post to get demand note.”

The woes of consumers do not end here. MSEDCL officials take their own time checking the meter and giving final sanction. “Either the MSEDCL does not have the expertise or they want something from the consumers. Whatever the reason, the consumers are facing a lot of harassment,” another consumer, whose application is pending, told TOI.

Source: TOI

PG

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 greensneha@yahoo.in

2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Pallav Kumar

    The article is well written and points out the root cause very well.

    Liked the simplicity in your writing.

    Thanks

  2. Vinay Sood

    I fully agree with this article. Being a startup in Solar field, we are also facing these problems.