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India plans to install rooftop solar on 10 million homes

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Picture: Nisarg Lakhmani/Dreamstime
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Picture: Nisarg Lakhmani/Dreamstime

The Indian government says it plans to install rooftop solar panels on 10 million homes to cut household electricity bills and bolster the nation’s energy security.

If it succeeds, roughly 45 million people will benefit from the programme, based on the country’s average household size.

“This will not only reduce the electricity bill of the poor and middle class but will also make India self-reliant in the energy sector,” prime minister Narendra Modi said in a statement. The long-term vision, he said, is for every Indian household to have its own rooftop system.

Solar will play a key role if India is to achieve its goal of installing 500GW of renewable energy by 2030.

According to projections by the International Energy Agency, the country will likely have close to 400GW of installed renewable energy capacity in 2028.

Utility-scale solar is expected to lead the way “thanks to a new, more ambitious auction schedule”, with 182GW connected to the grid by then.

“Furthermore, continuous policy support is expected to consolidate India’s position as the world’s third-largest market for renewables,” the IEA says.

For distributed solar — primarily on rooftops — the commercial and industrial sectors are expected to take advantage of more favourable open-access rules for grids in an increasing number of states, the agency adds.

And generation from distributed systems will soon be covered under India’s renewable purchase obligation programme, which should further support for rooftop installations.

“As a result, distributed PV installations are forecast to triple between 2022 and 2028.”

In 2023, India installed 6.5GW of new utility-scale solar capacity, 3GW of rooftop solar, and roughly 500MW of off-grid solar, according to JMK Research.

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