Commercial and industrial rooftop solar capacity set to increase by 47% in India: IEEA Report

India’s commercial and industrial (C&I) segment is expected to add 1,875 megawatt (MW) of new rooftop solar capacity in 2021, an increase of 47 percent compared to the previous year, according to a recent report.

The report titled ‘Emerging technology trends in the C&I rooftop solar market in India,’ by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and JMK Research said that the rate of rooftop solar capacity addition by C&I consumers in India is expected to accelerate this year. More so, since new and innovative solar technology solutions provided opportunities for businesses to save on electricity costs and contribute to corporate renewable energy targets.

“The adoption of onsite solar solutions are the low-hanging fruit for consumers that want to optimise their electricity costs or increase their procurement of renewable power” said Vibhuti Garg, an energy economist and lead India, IEEFA.

She added that the pandemic has increased the price sensitivity of C&I consumers who have already paid higher tariffs to cross-subsidise agricultural and residential consumers and saving on electricity costs were absolutely critical for them.

“Solar module and battery prices have already fallen and with the government’s new Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to boost domestic solar manufacturing, solar technology prices are expected to drop even further,” Garg added. The report added that other factors expected to boost uptake of rooftop solar by C&I consumers were more accessible financing options and corporates wanting to switch to 100 percent renewable energy.

Further, the report also highlights new technological developments being explored in the Indian C&I rooftop/onsite solar space such as larger-sized, wafer-based modules which allow higher power output of more than 500 kilowatts peak (kWp); bifacial modules that produce power from both sides of the panel; battery storage; integration of solar PV with electric vehicle (EV) charging stations; and building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). Some of these solutions such as higher-wattage modules and bifacial modules offer considerable value-addition in terms of energy generation, the report added.

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