- Bengaluru has a high potential for generating electricity through rooftop solar but much of it remains untapped.
- Uncertainty associated with rooftop solar and its payoffs deter people from investing in rooftop solar. Additionally, poor policy support is holding back the city’s ambitions.
- Growing research on the financial returns from investing in rooftop solar and early adopters exhibiting some amount of cost savings, shows some hope for tapping the potential of rooftop solar in Bengaluru.
Take a bird’s eye view of Bengaluru city. As the sun shines down on the concrete sprawl, home to more than eight million people, one can spot great potential – the potential to generate electricity.
Bengaluru has the capability to generate up to 3.2 GW of electricity just through rooftop solar, noted a 2018 survey. But the city has barely scratched the surface in tapping this potential.
This video story looks at the mix of success stories and hurdles in the widespread implementation of solar rooftop in Bengaluru.
Rooftop solar – where solar panels are placed on top of buildings – is an important aspect of India’s clean energy journey.
Bengaluru’s electricity distribution company, Bescom, had set a target of generating 1,000 MW of energy by rooftop solar by 2022, through a slew of policy measures, subsidies and power purchase agreement. By January 2022, the city generated just 140 MW – about 15% – through rooftop projects. Bescom’s ambitions have not been met by policy backing. It has not recognised empanelled contractors for solar projects, while tariff orders (periodically revised costs for purchase of electricity) have lapsed for months on end. The lack of policy incentives is also turning away applicants.
Overall, the significant uncertainty associated with rooftop solar and its payoffs deter people from investing in it. However, there are some enterprising individuals and entities who have taken on rooftop solar, despite its hurdles, and have been rewarded with cost savings.
Banner image: S.S. Raghunandan, President of Karnataka Renewable Energy Association, inspecting solar rooftop panels. Photo by Dheeraj Aithal/Mongabay.