In a Bid to Become Energy Self-Reliant, Bengaluru MLA Embraces Rooftop Solar

Suresh Kumar is now a solar prosumer with a 12 kW rooftop solar system at his residence


The policy push to promote rooftop solar among the masses gained much traction after the Union Cabinet approved a program earlier this year to make 10 million households energy self-sufficient under the PM Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana with an outlay of ₹75 billion (~$9 billion).

Who better than a legislator to become an ambassador for rooftop solar and inspire constituents to become solar prosumers?

S. Suresh Kumar, a Member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly representing the Rajajinagar constituency in Bengaluru, has led by example installing a rooftop solar system at his residence.

“I was thinking about installing a solar system on my rooftop for a long time. And when Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke eloquently about his desire to see 10 million households becoming self-reliant on meeting their power needs, I couldn’t wait any longer,” he told Mercom India.

Suresh Kumar, a former Karnataka minister, has installed a 12 kW solar system on his rooftop. His household consumes an average of 700 units of electricity monthly, and his monthly electricity bill averages ₹6,000 (~$72).

The installed rooftop solar system generates 1,000-1,200 kWh a month, which is 300-400 kWh more than what his household consumes.

The surplus power is fed to the grid at a tariff of ₹4.50 (~$0.05)/kWh, making him a solar prosumer.

The rooftop solar system cost him ₹960,000 (~$11,520) at a rate of ₹80,000/kW (~$960).

Says Kumar, “Mine is a purely voluntary initiative. Thanks to the Sun, our household is now energy self-reliant.”

He hopes to save more on electricity expenses now that he has also installed energy-efficient lighting systems at his residence.

Last week, the MLA shared the news about the rooftop solar system becoming operational with his Facebook followers. The post, which has garnered over 2,500 likes, had Kumar answering curious questions from his followers.

Residential rooftop solar has not had the success that commercial and industrial installations have enjoyed. However, the policy push by the Union and state governments and subsidies could help more households embrace solar for their power needs.

The government provides a subsidy of ₹30,000 (~$361)/kW for residential rooftop solar systems up to 2 kW. An additional ₹18,000 (~$217)/kW is available for systems over 2 kW and up to 3 kW. For systems above 3 kW, depending on the average monthly power consumption of the household, the total subsidy will be capped at ₹78,000 (~$939).

India installed 1.7 GW of rooftop solar capacity in 2023, the second-highest annual installation numbers on record.

The PM Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana aims to reduce the electricity expenditure of poor and middle-class households while enabling India’s energy self-reliance.