Restrictive Policies a Hindrance for Rooftop Solar: Amplus Interview
Distribution companies should not be responsible for selling subsidized electricity
The ongoing economic slowdown, uncertainties in policies, and regulatory hurdles have slowed down the pace of rooftop installations.
Rooftop installations currently account for nearly 12% of total solar installations in the country. Total solar installations in India have crossed the 35 GW mark, according to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker. Out of the 35.7 GW, ~31.3 GW of large-scale solar projects were in operation as of December 2019, while 4.4 GW of rooftop solar installations were recorded as of December 2019.
Mercom had a chance to interview Sanjeev Aggarwal, the managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Amplus Solar, a rooftop solar developer. Aggarwal discussed market trends, opportunities, and challenges being faced by the rooftop solar market in India. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
How is the rooftop solar market for you currently?
The rooftop solar market continues to grow. However, several challenges, including policy uncertainty, still pose a threat. Restrictive policies in states like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra might be a hindrance to the growth in the sector.
What are the options for the distribution licensees to facilitate smaller consumers to install solar systems?
Consumer awareness should be increased. It is also important to make available a pool of high performing, easy to install systems. Further, financing support must be available for these small consumers.
Rooftop solar must be promoted among consumers; however, we cannot overlook that the revenue of DISCOMs is also affected because of it. What is the best possible way to maintain a balance between the two sides?
Rooftop solar need not be a tussle between the distribution company (DISCOM) and developers. All we need is to ensure that the DISCOM is not left out of the loop and shares the benefits, including monetary savings, realized from rooftop solar generation. The solar generation within a DISCOM’s territory could also count towards their renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets. Addressing this would solve major retaliatory roadblocks for commercial and industrial (C&I) rooftop solar in states which are desperate to protect their already distressed utilities.
In the long run, the DISCOM should not be responsible for selling subsidized electricity. DISCOMs should be allowed to sell electricity at financially viable rates to all consumers. Those consumers the state wishes to subsidize can be reimbursed through DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer), the methodology now adopted for the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) subsidy program.
How do you differentiate yourself from the rest of your competitors?
We have achieved our leadership position by always keeping the customer at the core of everything we do at Amplus. We deliver solutions that are efficient, reliable, and high performing. Amplus remains fully focused on its safety, construction, and quality practices.
From carports and superstructures to energy efficiency and EV charging infrastructure, we have implemented customized solutions across various projects.
We have also developed a unique, in-house dedicated state-of-the-art remote monitoring system, helping us maintain zero downtime, thereby maximizing plant generation.
Image credit: Amplus Solar
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.