BRIDGE TO INDIA recently carried out a first of its kind analysis on India’s rooftop solar market in India (refer here). It is based on extensive interviews the team has conducted with almost all stakeholders in the market over the last few months. With about one-fifth of all rooftop solar installations concentrated in Tamil Nadu, the state has emerged as the largest rooftop solar market in the country.
- Adoption rates seem to be driven by growing consumer awareness, leading to less business development effort by the installers and EPC companies
- Long and frequent power cuts and high usage of expensive backup sources of power have made solar attractive.
- However, Tamil Nadu has currently achieved a much more stable power supply, leading to a reduction in solar demand. We believe that this is a short term effect.
- Awareness and dissemination of knowledge is crucial if the rooftop solar market is to grow
The primary reason why Tamil Nadu has been a good market for rooftop solar has been the high awareness of consumers towards intermittent sources of energy in the state. The state is one of the early movers in wind technology and has the highest installed wind capacity (about 7 GW) in India. Several large, industrial consumers have already opted for wind based power to save on energy costs. Due to wider awareness, the effort on customer education and business development is comparatively lower than in other Indian states. On an average, in India, the business development efforts to convince clients to go solar is still upwards of six months. This comes at a significant cost to service providers. By saving on this effort, system costs can be reduced and turnaround time improved.
Another reason for the higher adoption of rooftop solar has been the long duration of power cuts faced by industrial customers who have to resort to costly power backup options like diesel gen-sets.
In the past year, the grid power supply situation in Tamil Nadu has improved, leading to a market downturn in demand for solar rooftop systems. We believe, however, that this is a short term effect and that energy economics will make solar an attractive choice in Tamil Nadu again, soon.
Jyoti Gulia is Senior Manager – Market Intelligence at BRIDGE TO INDIA.