India’s central government ministries, state government departments and institutions such as schools have been requested to take up rooftop solar by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
After 2-3 years of falling prices, it is now economical to generate power through grid-connected rooftop solar according to a letter from MNRE joint secretary Tarun Kapoor to all government parties and other institutions. With an installation life of 25 years, the payback period for rooftop solar is now around 5-6 years.
The letter comes in the wake of the Government announcement that 40GW of the country's overall 100GW by 2022 solar target is to come from rooftop solar.
Kapoor wrote: “There is huge roof space available in Govt. buildings including offices, PSUs buildings and institutions.”
He said that this can be used to generate thousands of megawatts of solar power and save money for the institutions and ministries. Kapoor also noted that some ministries and their PSUs have a significant amount of spare land that can be utilized for solar.
Government incentives include a 15% subsidy for rooftop solar, although this does not include private, commercial and industrial rooftop solar.
Kapoor also highlighted the Reserve Bank of India’s recent inclusion of renewable energy projects under priority lending.
State Electricity Regulatory Commissions in 19 states have also brought in net-metering or feed-in tariff mechanisms as a further benefit to rooftop solar.
To conclude the letter Kapoor wrote: “You are requested to take appropriate actions to install the grid connected solar rooftop systems in available roof space in the buildings and let your buildings to produce clean and green power.”
MNRE also released a “tentative” year-by-year breakdown of individual state targets to reach its overall 40GW rooftop solar installation goal in July.
In the following week, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) launched a loan scheme for grid-connected rooftop solar projects.