Centre may make solar systems mandatory on roof-tops

June 25, 2015 12:42 am | Updated 12:48 am IST - CHENNAI:

The ‘Rooftop Solar Power plant’ installed at a house in Chennai. Photo: K. Pichumani

The ‘Rooftop Solar Power plant’ installed at a house in Chennai. Photo: K. Pichumani

The Central government is likely to make it mandatory for buildings to install solar roof-top systems. The proposal is among the initiatives planned by the Government of India to support the massive solar capacity addition target (100 GW by 2022).

An official statement has indicated that there would be a proposal for amendment in building norms for mandatory provision of roof-top solar for new construction and 10 per cent renewable energy provision for end-customers under the new scheme of Ministry of Urban Development.

Generally, about 10 sq.m area is required to set up 1 kWp grid-connected roof-top solar system. The average cost of such system is around Rs.80 per watt. “This is still an idea that may or may not become a policy. But it is an interesting proposal,” says a report of Bridge to India, solar energy consulting firm.

“Mandatory roof-top solar is not new to India. Similar policies have earlier been formulated by the states of Haryana and Tamil Nadu,” it added.

Elaborating further, it pointed out that Tamil Nadu unveiled a solar policy three years ago under which large power consumers (with a connected load of above 11 kVA) were asked to meet a share of their power consumption from solar source.

However, a year later, this obligation was challenged by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Consumers’ Association in court on grounds that there was already a general renewable energy obligation upon commercial consumers. The roof-top obligation was dismissed by the courts and the plan was aborted.

Haryana also made it mandatory for all buildings with an area of 500 sq. yards or more to install solar roof-top systems of a minimum size of 1 kW or 5 per cent of their power requirements, whichever is higher. The deadline for meeting the requirements is September 2015.

“In all likelihood, there will be large-scale non-compliance to this mandate. The primary reason for non-compliance is that other aspects of the policy are not being effectively implemented. Central and state government subsidies have been announced but they are not available. Net-metering exists on paper but the process for providing inter-connection has not yet been streamlined.

“In fact, hardly any permission has been provided for net-metering. Over and above these challenges, the short timelines provided for publicising and enforcing the mandates has created a situation where the public has not taken them seriously,” it stated.

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