The total number of people accessing solar power has increased drastically with a better market penetration of solar off-grid products, according to the latest Global Off-grid Solar Market Report. The report was published by Global Off-grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) for the second half of 2018.
The report also mentions that the Government of India (GoI) has officially realized its goal of 100% household electrification through grid extension under the SAUBHAGYA program. This has had a major influence on the off-grid solar market, both domestically and globally. However, due to new import laws, India was also facing uncertainty and declining sales in the off-grid market during the same period.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of people globally with little or no access to energy stands at around 1 billion. The 2018 Off-Grid Solar Market Trends report reveals that solar lighting devices have penetrated around 17% to 20% of the market. This indicates a large potential for growth in the distributed solar sector.
According to the GOGLA report, global sales of 3.9 million off-grid solar lighting products in the second half of 2018 has been recorded. Out of these, 2.95 million were cash products with a value of $99.4 million. Pay as you go (PAYGO) based products had a smaller share (950,000 units accounting for 24% of the global total) with a value of $164.78 million. There has been significant growth in solar lanterns, multi-lighting systems, and solar home systems (SHS) sold globally. India’s market share is 25% in solar lanterns and multi-light systems and 29% in solar home systems. These are numbers of distributed solar lighting products calculated against the whole market.
Nearly 1.18 million units of off-grid solar products were sold in the Indian market during the second half of 2018. This was an 11% decline from sales figures for the first half reported at 1.33 million units. This period saw a 6% decline in sales as compared to the same period in 2017, during which 1.25 million units were sold overall.
India emerged as the largest cash market for off-grid solar products, with 1.2 million units sold with a value of $58 million. Kenya’s cash market has seen marked growth compared to the previous period with 450,000 units.
According to the GOGLA report for H1 2018, India was the world’s largest cash market for distributed solar products during the first half of 2018 too, with 1.3 million products sold during that period.
Moreover, in an earlier report, GOGLA also highlighted that the Indian private player-driven market for solar lanterns and solar home systems is expected to reach ₹26,178 million (~$327 million) by 2023. As mentioned in the report, India accounted for over 30 percent of the global volume and revenue share of the distributed standalone solar products sector in the first half of 2018.
Recently, the MNRE decided that off-grid solar power projects which were installed earlier for which reliable grid supply is now available with the net-metering provision can be connected to the grid as it will lead to optimal utilization of assets. However, the MNRE notification clarified that the conversion of such projects is subject to applicable regulatory provisions; with the cost of such conversions to be borne by the concerned state government or beneficiary departments.
Ramya Ranganath is an Associate Editor and Writer for Mercom Communications India. Before joining Mercom, Ramya worked as a Senior Editor at a digital media supply chain solutions company. Throughout her career, she has developed end-to-end content for various companies in a wide range of domains, including renewables. Ramya holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology and is passionate about environmental issues and permaculture.