‘Feed in Tariff’ to help unlock potential of rooftop solar: Expert


Thiruvananthapuram, October 14

A nationwide Feed in Tariff (FiT), a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies, can help unlock the true potential of rooftop solar power in India.

FiT enables anyone who generates electricity from renewable energy source – be it a home owner, small business or a large electricity utility - to sell it to the grid and receive guaranteed long-term payments at a predetermined rate for energy transferred.

Rooftop plant

Producer/consumer (‘prosumer’) of a rooftop plant commissioned under FiT can even approach commercial banks for loans, says K Sivadasan, a former official of the Kerala State Electricity Board and a consultant.

Banks will find it easy to advance loans on liberal terms against the guarantee of periodic payments made to the producer/consumer under the FiT regime.

Sivadasan presented a paper on the subject at a national conference on ‘Solar power development (including rooftop solar systems) and issues’ for grid connectivity. The conference was organised by the Central Board of Irrigation and Power in New Delhi recently.

Proven means

Repayment period can stretch out to even 25 years, as is the norm in several countries, which will minimise the burden (EMI) on the producer.

The government needs to frame its policies to raise solar generation to its potential in the state. FiT is the only proven means to accomplish this.

According to the International Energy Agency, as much as 70 per cent of global solar generation in 2013 was realised through FiT.

Germany has applied FiT in its solar energy harvesting to great effect. Generation took off from almost nil in 1990 to 38 GW as of now, more than 60 per cent of which is from rooftop segment.

Despite the fact that solar energy currently only makes up around one per cent of the total electricity market today, it could be the biggest single source of electricity in the world by the year 2050.

Population density

According to the IEA, rooftop solar is ‘unbeatable’ with respect to its potential and will account for half of all solar PV installations by 2050.

Domestic rooftop potential is linked to population density, Sivadasan said. For example, Kerala has a density of 860 per sq km and Rajasthan has a density of 201 per sq km.

With a population of 3.5 crore, Kerala is estimated to have a domestic rooftop solar potential of 13 GW. India has a population of 125 crore and with an average size of 1.5 KW per rooftop, total potential of domestic rooftop can be as high as 450 GW.

Published on October 14, 2015


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