India Missed 2022 Renewables Target as Rooftop Solar and Wind fell Short

India has achieved only 69% of the overall target of 175 GW by 2022


The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy report has isolated underwhelming progress on rooftop solar and wind energy projects as the primary reason for India falling short of achieving its renewable energy capacity target of 175 GW by 2022.

India had set an ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which included 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power, and 5 GW from small hydropower.

However, as of December 31, 2022, only 69% of the goal, or 120.9 GW of renewable energy capacity, had been installed in the country.

India added just 1.6 GW of rooftop solar capacity in 2022, nearly a 4% decline year-over-year, compared to 1.7 GW in 2021, according to Mercom India Research’s newly released 2022 Q4 & Annual Mercom India Rooftop Solar Market Report.

The Committee pointed out that India has installed only 7.4 GW of rooftop solar projects out of the overall target of 40 GW.

The Committee noted that the rooftop solar program has been hampered by a lack of information at the grassroots level, low awareness among the masses, and the lack of interest shown by power distribution companies (DISCOMs).

Union Power Minister R.K. Singh recently highlighted the lack of initiative from state-owned power distribution companies as the primary reason for tepid growth in rooftop solar installations.

Further, the Committee listed several reasons for the shortfall in rooftop solar capacity, including time-consuming and complicated procedures for setting up rooftop solar projects, delays in the disbursement of subsidies, inconsistent policy framework at the state level, and the absence of non-recourse financing options.

In response, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy submitted that a national portal has been developed to ease the process of rooftop solar installations, wherein any residential consumer from any part of the country can apply, and all the processes starting from registration of application util the release of subsidy can be tracked online.

The report observed that as on February 27,  43,171 applications had been received on the portal. The DISCOMs approved 18,437 applications, 3,031 were rejected on technical grounds, and 21,703 applications still needed approval.

The Committee said that DISCOMs remained the focal point of the rooftop installation processes, notwithstanding the portal. Their role could not be wished away as the subsidy is released only after technical feasibility approval, net-meter installation, and system inspection by the DISCOMs.

The Committee made two important recommendations to address the challenges faced by the rooftop solar program in India. Firstly, it said that a strict timeline be imposed for the approval or rejection of applications, installation of net-metering, and an inspection of the system by the DISCOMs. This would ensure that the installation process of rooftop solar systems becomes more efficient and less time-consuming.

Secondly, the Committee said that the DISCOMs should be incentivized to address their apprehensions about losing their high-paying consumers due to rooftop solar installations. It would encourage DISCOMs to participate in the program actively, ensuring they do not see the rooftop solar systems threatening their business.

As per MNRE, India has an estimated wind power potential of 695.5 GW at 120 meters and 302.25 GW at 100 meters above the ground level. However, as of December 31, 2022, the country has only installed a cumulative wind power capacity of 41.93 GW, below the overall target of 60 GW set for the same period.

The Committee further noted that MNRE had projected the budgetary requirement of ₹104.22 billion (~$1.26 billion) for the financial year 2023-24, and ₹102.22 billion (~$1.24 billion) has been allocated with an increase of about 45% against revised estimates of the last year.