Solar rooftop fails to make headway: CSE

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Solar rooftop fails to make headway: CSE

Tuesday, 22 January 2019 | Sapna Singh | NEW DELHI

A report by the Center for Environment Science (CSE) has found that, solar rooftop has failed to make any headway in the current market which is skewed towards large- scale renewable energy.

According to the CSE report, the country is aiming for a 40 - gigawatt capacity by 2022, but till November 2018, only 1,334 megawatt (MW) of grid -connected solar rooftop system had been installed, moreover, the preference has been commercial and industrial installations-residential consumers, holding potential, account for less than 20 per cent of total installed capacity, the report said.

The analysis done by the Delhi-based think tank on environmental matters,

highlighted that India is

surging ahead in the area of renewable energy, the capacity has reached 73 gigawatt (GW), which is 20 per cent of the country’s total energy capacity.    

“There is need to fill the policy gaps, generation has increased, and solar energy has made tremendous strides. But does this mean the country is well on its way to meet its ambitious 175-GW renewable capacity target by 2022?,” CSE said in a report.

SunitaNarain, director general, CSE, said, “We believe that India needs a renewable energy policy that both de-carbonise the economy and provide access to large numbers of people who are energy-deprived.”

 According to the experts, some favourable policies, combined with good market conditions, has seen the renewable energy sector emerge as a sunshine industry. Solar, in fact, has made considerable progress. Over the last four years, large-scale solar has seen an average annual growth rate of over 70 per cent. “The installed solar capacity has increased from 2.6 GW in March 2014 to 23.1 GW in June 2018 - large-scale solar comprises over 94 per cent of this. At under Rs 3 per unit on an average, wind and solar energy is now cheaper than coal power,” the analysis report quoted, highlighting, however, 2018 witnessed a slowdown triggered by financial difficulties being faced by distribution companies, import tariffs, and subsequent tariff increases.”

Echoing the role of distributors and global investors in solar energy sector, Priyavrat Bhati , Advisor, energy group, CSE , said that  nothing can be more disruptive for an emerging sector that seeks to attract global investors, than ad hoc and abrupt policy changes.” 

Citing Discoms, a distribution company and terming as under -performing, CSE said that the financial stress that discomsare in has meant payment delays for developers, cancellation of auctions,and lack of enforcement of contracts -- this dampens investor confidence and developers’ interest.

 CSE in his recommendations said that one should look beyond the INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions). Increase the share of distributed renewable generation - solar rooftops and mini-grids. Encourage ‘smart grids’ that use communications infrastructure, control systems and information technology for efficient delivery and rethink the discom model.

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