At this point in time, electricity is a major player in economic growth and the wellbeing of society depends on it. 100,000 villages in India are not connected to the grid meaning 400 million people don’t have access to reliable electricity. There are a lot of resources in India which are untapped and the potential of solar means it is one of the biggest untapped energy resources. Hence there is a very good scope for development prospects in the renewable energy sector as a sustainable energy supply technology.
Application of solar panels on the flat rooftop houses in the densely-populated metropolitan cities of India (which are already ailing due to irregular power) is a plausible solution to reduce the energy demand gap as this will improve the accessibility of power and also reduce the transmission losses. The predominant negative environmental impacts of solar farms is the construction and operation of solar plants on open land (which has an impact on native vegetation and wildlife), therefore finding an alternative in rooftop application is the most suitable sustainable solution. As such there is a demand for an applicability study of solar rooftop installation in order to make renewable energy a major source of power.
The concept of renewable energy is an inspirational one and, if implemented properly, it can contribute significantly to the sustainable growth of a country without curbing its economic aspirations. Rooftop power will see parity because of rapidly falling module prices and the rise in the cost of conventional power due to fuel shortages. Solar panels can be installed near areas where people use power, reducing or eliminating the costs of transmitting power through a grid.
According to Solar Novus Today, downstream solar companies will see considerable growth due to declines in the manufacturing costs as well as consumer willingness to pay. India has above 300 million rooftops thus the solar rooftop has an estimated current potential of 92.7GW installation in India and the government plans to install at least 1000 MW capacity by 2017.
However, solar power has been held back by costs. It is still about three times more expensive than electricity produced by natural gas, according to estimates by the EIA (Energy Information Administration). The financial barriers caused by production and installation of solar panel and macro issues effecting the world economy have had considerable impact on growth of solar energy sector and therefore requires proper assessment studies before implementation of projects requiring huge early stage investments.
The introduction of initiatives like Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) for off grid markets will contribute to sudden market growth as this will result in substantial savings for the customer. Secondly, policies concerning the leasing of rooftop space (which has been a major implementiation constraint) and easing of these laws will simultaneously contribute and make the shift towards solar rooftop installation a more lucrative and viable option.
Author: Ajay Pal Singh/ RESET editorial