Can Solar Kits Propel the Growth of Residential Rooftop Market in India?

The Senate of The Philippines has announced that a proposal to reduce the cost of electricity for households and businesses through the adoption of rooftop solar, is currently under scrutiny by the senate committee on energy.

Senator Grace Poe, who has initiated the filing of Senate Bill No. 1719 for the promotion and adoption of rooftop solar technology among residential, commercial, industrial and government end-users, said that “Rooftop solar is an emerging technology which the government should look into especially as it’s becoming cheaper by the day,”

She continued stating that “Unlike other power plants, whether fossil-based, hydro, wind or solar farms, rooftop solar does not require land conversions because it uses what is usually an underutilized and already existing resource — the roof,”.

“Complete solar photovoltaic systems or solar technology can be bought off-the-shelf and could be easily installed in a few hours. Larger systems may take a few days. No other technology, renewable or otherwise, could match the convenient installation attributed to rooftop solar,” Poe added.

Although a net metering policy was introduced in the Philippines in 2008, there has been a slow adoption of rooftop solar by consumers due to reasons such as inability to access financing, regulatory red tape and resistance from utilities to comply with the policy.

To tackle these problems, the bill proposes removal of the 100 kW cap on distributed generation capacity for large consumers, insertion of an explicit provision that the same reference price should be applied to both electricity imported from and exported to the grid by end-users. In addition, it requires the Department of Energy, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), National Renewable Energy Board, DILG to standardize permits and licenses needed to install rooftop solar panels.

To finance rooftop solar projects, the bill proposes institutionalization of the rooftop solar loan program of the Pag-IBIG Fund, a Philippines government-owned and controlled corporation under the housing and urban development coordinating council responsible for the administration of the national savings program and affordable shelter financing for Filipinos employed by local and foreign-based employers as well as voluntary and self-employed members. The fund offers its members short-term loans and access to housing programs.

The bill also seeks to mandate all government agencies to install solar energy system at their respective offices and buildings to supply at least 5% of the electric power requirements.

Recently, Mercom reported on the news of the European Union providing a €60 million (~$68.54 million) grant to the Philippines to install solar home systems.

Shaurya Bajaj is a staff reporter for Mercomindia.com.