With increasing demand from government, commercial and industrial sectors, the rooftop solar sector is witnessing steady growth despite a lack of policy support and incentives. The growth trajectory of the rooftop sector has gained momentum in the past quarter. By the end of December 2017, over 1.6 GW of rooftop solar projects have been installed cumulatively across the country. In calendar year 2017, approximately 995 MW of solar rooftop projects were installed across the country.
According to the latest report released by Mercom India Research – India Solar Market Leaderboard 2017, in the calendar year 2017, the top 10 rooftop solar developers in India accounted for 27 percent of rooftop solar PV installations. Tata Power was the top installer in 2017 followed by CleanMax and Fourth Partner Energy.
Mercom India’s market share report covers top rooftop installers in 2017 as well as cumulatively.
“The rooftop segment is still very fragmented with the majority of installations coming from smaller installers. This demonstrates that barriers to entry are minimal, especially on the residential solar side,” commented Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.
Top installers in terms of cumulative installations were also Tata Power, CleanMax and Fourth Partner Energy. No installer had exceeded 200 MW in installations at the end of 2017.
Rooftop installations are currently dependent on government projects followed by commercial and industrial (C&I) installations. Residential rooftop market is still very small with hordes of inexperienced small installers vying for that segment leading to questionable build quality. Subsidy disbursement delays by the government to residential installers has affected installation growth.
Smaller utility-scale developers who are being shut out of large-scale tenders are looking at the C&I rooftop space as an alternative path for growth.
To rapidly expand the rooftop solar sector in the country, various governmental agencies have recently come up with a spate of tenders. For instance, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Railways have begun to tender and implement rooftop solar projects at a fast pace. With time, C&I customers have also realized the attractiveness of rooftop solar.
Recently, some states removed the upper cap of 1 MW for rooftop solar projects. Even the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has tried roping in DISCOMs to participate in the rooftop solar sector by providing them incentives based on the capacity of rooftop installations in their region of distribution.
So far, despite challenges rooftop installations have continued to grow.
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Sampath has been part of the Mercom India research and news team since the company’s inception. He currently oversees all data and research relating to news published on the MercomIndia.com platform. Sampath received his Bachelor’s of Commerce Degree from Kuvempu University and Post Graduate Diploma in Management, from Indira Gandhi National Open University. More articles from Sampath Krishna.