With the help of growing demand from the government, commercial, and industrial sectors, the rooftop solar sector has been witnessing consistent growth in India. However, the share of rooftop solar installations currently is relatively low at 12%.
Cumulative rooftop solar installations in India totaled 3.2 GW at the end of December 2018, and nearly 1.6 GW of capacity was installed throughout the year. The top 10 rooftop solar installers in India accounted for approximately 30% of the capacity installed in 2018 in an extremely fragmented market that is largely made up of small and local installers.
According to the India Solar Market Leaderboard –2019, CleanMax led the rooftop market in 2018, installing at a 170% growth rate compared to 2017. Fourth Partner was the second with a 193% YoY growth rate. Tata was at the third spot with a growth rate of 33% YoY in 2018.
Though some of the companies that topped the list in 2018 were the same as in 2017, there were several surprises. According to the Mercom report, in 2018, we saw two leading large-scale project developers also feature in the top 10 rooftop installers list. With the large-scale solar market facing some challenges, we are witnessing developers expand into the rooftop market, especially in commercial and industrial segments.
At the end of 2018, the top 10 installers accounted for about a third of all cumulative rooftop installations in India. Tata Power remained the top rooftop installer in terms of cumulative installations to date followed by CleanMax and Fourth Partner Energy.
According to Mercom’s Q1 2019 India Solar Market Quarterly Update, rooftop installations fell by 33% (YoY) in the first quarter of 2019. There were capacity additions of approximately 260 MW in Q1 2019 when compared to 390 MW in Q1 2018. The slowdown was largely due to the ongoing elections, which made it difficult to get government approvals. Most of the rooftop installations are primarily in the government and commercial and industrial sectors, which represented 85% of the total rooftop installed capacity in Q1 2019.
Rooftop solar has a lot of growth potential and investment opportunities but requires better policies and financing options. Lending has become challenging over the past couple of quarters, contributing to slower growth. Net-metering is still the biggest drag on the rooftop market as DISCOMs make it as hard as possible, fearing revenue loss.
An increasing number of states are coming out with net metering policies for rooftop solar. Of late, the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission for the state of Goa and union territories along with several other states including, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi NCR have revised, amended or proposed new regulations to their rooftop solar net metering policies.
The solar rooftop market is expected to pick up speed again in the second half of 2019, according to Mercom’s Q1 2019 India Solar Market Quarterly Update.
A complete list of rooftop installers by name and their market share in India is available: Mercom India’s Solar Market Share Tracker.
Image credit: Tata Power Solar
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.