Here comes the sun! Spirited government intervention is needed to recharge the rooftop solar plant movement across India.

Author:Ramesh, M.
Position:FEATURE: CLIMATE CHANGE
 
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India's ratification of the Paris Climate Change Agreement commits it to sweeping cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, and one of main ways of meeting them are solar power plants.

India has a good track record in solar power installations--8GW in six years, with a promise of another 8GW in a year--but its record of rooftop solar plant installations is relatively poor--to date, it has only 1GW of rooftop plants.

Since rooftop plants generate electricity right at the point of consumption, they do away with the need for transmission, which in turn cuts down on energy loss. They give plant owners independence from utility companies and insulate them from tariff hikes.

Installing rooftop solar plants at educational institutions and factory buildings alone would help generate 40GW. India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy estimates the market potential at 124GW.

So why has rooftop solar not gained sufficient traction? The reason is the poor financial health of the utility companies.

In India, most electricity companies are owned by state governments. Political and social imperatives have led governments to provide cheaper power, or even free, to the poor and to farmers...

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