India most cost-effective globally in rooftop solar power: a joint study by India, UK and US universities

A global study conducted jointly by Ahmedabad University, Imperial College, London; and Columbia University, US has found that India is the most cost-effective country for generating rooftop solar energy at $ 66 per megawatt-hour, while the cost in China is marginally higher at $ 68 per megawatt-hour.

Due to the lower cost, rooftop solar photovoltaics (RTSPV) technology, such as roof-mounted solar panels used in homes, and commercial and industrial buildings, is currently the fastest deployable energy generation technology. This, according to this global study, is projected to fulfil up to 49 per cent of the global electricity demand by 2050.

Over the past decade, the massive drop in deployment cost coupled with policy-driven initiatives has led to a rapid uptake of RTSPV globally. Between 2006 and 2018, the installed capacity of the RTSPV has grown from 2.5 gigawatts (GW) to 213 GW.

With an additional capacity installation of 41 GW, RTSPV currently accounts for 40 per cent of the global cumulative installed capacity of the solar energy and nearly one-fourth of the total renewable capacity additions since 2018, which is more than the combined new installed capacities of both coal and nuclear.

At the same time, RTSPV technology has shown a steep decline in deployment cost, which ranged between $ 63 and $ 265 megawatt-hour in 2019. It is a reduction of 42-79 per cent over 2010 value.

Rooftop solar photovoltaics account for 40 per cent of the global solar photovoltaics installed capacity and one-fourth of the total renewable capacity additions. According to the study, India has a significant solar rooftop potential of 1.7 petawatt-hour per year. This is against the country’s current electricity demand of 1.3 petawatt-hour per annum, it said. Maharashtra, with 181 terawatt-hour per year and Uttar Pradesh with 168.07 terawatt-hour per year have the highest solar rooftop potential in the country now.

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