10,000 Solar PV rooftops – Kerala follows Germany’s example

Almost every solar programme in India, be it JNNSM or the state policies like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, among others, is focused on mostly grid connected utility scale projects. Policy support for Off-grid PV systems is sometimes announced as an afterthought, and in some cases, they do not even find a mention. For example, while JNNSM targets 20 GW of solar generation capacity through grid connected projects by 2022, the target for off-grid PV is 2 GW for the same period. The only exception to this trend seems to be Kerala. The state announced a off-grid rooftop scheme(target 10,000 rooftops ~10 MW) earlier this year and has started implementing the policy. (Tamil Nadu policy has a similar policy – 3 Lakh new houses with solar power lighting systems to be constructed during the period 2011-16 for the benefit of the poor in rural areas, but not sure if it cannot be treated as a rooftop PV programme)
Kerala has one of the highest population densities in the country and does not have any sizable barren land.  This  makes utility scale ground mounting PV Projects almost impossible to develop. Add to this the fact that the state receives sizable rainfall, which reduces the average Plant Load Factor(PLF) and makes it a lesser attractive option compared to neighboring Tamil Nadu, Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh. This is where the off-grid rooftop PV systems become attractive(and probably the only good option available).
ANERT(Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology), the nodal agency for MNRE in Kerala, announced the 10,000 Solar rooftop programme 2012-13. The programme summary is given below.

  • Power plants (solar array) shall be of 1 kWp capacity
  • Only off-grid power plants are covered under this programme
  • State subsidy of Rs.39.000 per system
  • Central Government subsidy of Rs.81,000 or 30% of the cost of power plant (whichever is less) expected
  • Applicants should be willing to meet the remaining expense of around Rs.1 lakh
  • 10,000 such systems totalling 10 MW solar PV capacity
  • Installation of systems fully meeting Govt. of India specification and guidelines through empanelled vendors.

ANERT has started inviting applications from households who are keen on availing the incentives.
By now you would be wondering what exactly is the connection between this programme and Germany. Here it is. Germany’s solar programme also started with a rooftop PV programme called 1000 Roof Program in 1990. In 1999, the German government introduced the 100,000 Roof Programme and there was no looking back after that. According to the German Solar Industry Association – BSW Solar, at the end of 2011, Germany had an installed capacity of about 25 GWp of solar, of which about 85% of the capacity is on rooftops. This corresponds to more than 1 million rooftop PV systems. The picture below taken from a presentation by BSW(downloadable here) sums it up quite well.

(Note : Another presentation from BSW with slightly different numbers can be found here. I am not sure which number is correct, but the takeaway is that rooftop systems has the majority market share)
The notable difference between the Germany solar programme and the Kerala programme is that the former is grid-connected whereas the latter is off-grid. Moreover, the German programme uses Feed-in-Tariffs to promote rooftop systems whereas Kerala government offers capital subsidy.
Kerala has taken a step in the right direction and now the success of the programme depends on the flawless implementation. If done properly, the Kerala model, which ensures retail participation, can become a model for the other states.
PS: A comparison between Gujarat and Kerala policies is available here.

9 thoughts on “10,000 Solar PV rooftops – Kerala follows Germany’s example”

  1. Pingback: Rooftop solar PV in India – Gujarat and Kerala show the way | RESolve Energy Consultants

  2. Interesting, the parallel you have drawn with Germany, and heartening too. But perhaps you should have given an idea of how many units a 1 kWp system will generate in a year in Kerala.

  3. It is a good start, but 1KWp limit is low. It should be atleast 3KWp. Alos the total of 10MW is too low given that there are no grid based systems. Please do post on how the rebate/subsidy is working.

  4. @Rama I would say the 1kWp based systems is a good start and the implementation should be feasible. We have seen many ambitious rooftop policy fail, its always good to start with a easy/reachable target.
    A 1kWp system with battery backup should be good enough for a average middle class household based on its average daily consumption(check below).
    S.No Load type Nos W kW hrs kWh(Units)
    1 Tube light 3 40 0.12 8 0.96
    2 Fans 3 60 0.18 13 2.34
    3 TV 1 110 0.11 7 0.77
    Giridaran Srinivasan

    1. Hi,
      Can you please also let me know how beneficial this system would be to the customer?
      What would be the pay back period for the customer with and without full subsidy? (I think it is not reasonable to the customer since tariff (residential) in Kerala is much less than other states, 100 units / month 2 to 3 Rs / unit).
      What according to you is the ideal price of 1KW system how long government will support approx. 50% subsidy to such a projects?

  5. Pingback: Kerala : New Solar Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) Proposed | RESolve Energy Consultants

  6. Hello Sir..,
    I am residing at Pathanamthitta, Kerala. I am interested to be a part of this campaign. But i am defficient in information regarding this. I heared that the Kerala Government has announced some subsidies also.
    I request you to mail me with sufficient information regarding the same.
    Jan Jose

  7. Dear Sirs,
    I am planning to install a solar photo voltaic energy generation system for my house by installing solar p.v. panels on my roof top.My requirement of energy is about 10 kWh per day. But, as you are aware, the requirement of energy is more during night time and less during the day. I have no desire to install storage batteries, which is a costly proposition. Can I get the facility of exporting the energy when I do not require and also draw my requirement from the grid when the energy generation is not sufficient?
    Kindly enlighten me.

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