According to central government estimates, Karnataka has emerged as the best state in India for rooftop solar projects.
Minister of Power R.K. Singh recently released a survey report titled ‘The State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index’ (SARAL) which reveals that after Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, have taken the second, third and fourth positions respectively. Karnataka’s score stands at 78.8 and has been assigned A++. Telangana scored 72.2, followed by Gujarat which scored 67.9 and 66.1 was assigned to Andhra Pradesh.
Last year, Mercom had published a research report that gave Karnataka the top spot among all states pursuing the expansion of large-scale solar projects.
The evaluation was based on the interest shown by the state governments to develop rooftop solar projects in their respective states. Singh said that it would incentivize rooftop solar by creating healthy competition among the states. He encouraged all states to adopt the best practices being followed by the top-ranking states.
The index evaluated the development of rooftop solar projects based on five key aspects – the robustness of policy framework, implementation environment, investment climate, consumer experience, and business ecosystem. Each of these are represented through a set of parameters and scoring indicators. According to the official statement, this index encourages each state to assess the initiatives taken so far, and what it can do to improve its solar rooftop ecosystem.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set a target of achieving 175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022, of which 100 GW will come from solar projects. Of this 100 GW capacity, 40 GW is expected to come from grid-connected solar rooftops.
According to the report, a self-sustainable and private sector- driven rooftop solar sector holds the key for a renewable energy revolution in India.
The government states that SARAL is the first of its kind index to provide a comprehensive overview of state-level measures adopted to facilitate rooftop solar deployment. The team reached out to 86 stakeholders from 28 states to collect data through primary research.
According to Mercom India Research, solar installations in India in Q1 2019 increased slightly at 1,737 MW, a 4% growth compared to 1,638 MW installed in Q4 2018. However, rooftop installations fell by 33% (YoY) with capacity additions of over 260 MW in Q1 2019 compared to 390 MW in Q1 2018.
According to Mercom’s research, the cumulative rooftop solar installations reached 3,527 MW by the end of Q1 2019. Rooftop installations still only make up 12% of total solar installations and the country has achieved only 9% of its target capacity addition (40 GW by 2022).
“This has to grow tenfold so as to achieve the target of 40 GW. For this, states must gear up and put in place a robust implementation environment, including the introduction of clear and detailed regulations, strong monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, new institutional structures, promote innovative DISCOM-centric business models. Also, states should adopt the activities that will spread awareness among consumers and other stakeholders across the value chain. Some states in India have progressed quite well. For example, over the last one year, Maharashtra has added more than 450 MW of rooftop solar capacity. Delhi has introduced the most detailed net metering regulations. Karnataka has launched a comprehensive e-portal that acts as a single-window clearance for all applications. However, there are many other states which need to accelerate the deployment of rooftop solar to collectively reach 40 GW by 2022,” the report stated.
These ratings are a reference point and may not always reflect real conditions on the ground. Even states like Tamil Nadu where installing rooftop and getting net-metering permissions is extremely difficult is rated A+.
In last year’s sixth annual integrated ratings for the state distribution utilities, The Ministry of Power rated DISCOMs in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh a ‘B’ even though they have payment delay and other issues.
If these government-issued ratings are to be taken seriously, the rating exercise needs to be conducted by independent research firms who do not have any conflict of interest.
Image Credit: EY418 [CC BY-SA 4.0 ]
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.