In a solar rooftop system, the solar panels are installed in the roof of any residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. This can be of two types (i) Solar Rooftop System with storage facility using battery, and (ii) Grid Connected Solar Rooftop System.

Such rooftop system has battery as storage facility. The solar electricity is stored in the battery and can be utilized during night also when the sun is not available.

In grid connected rooftop or small SPV system, the DC power generated from SPV panel is converted to AC power using power conditioning unit and is fed to the grid either of 33 kV/11 kV three phase lines or of 440/220 Volt three/single phase line depending on the capacity of the system installed at institution/commercial establishment or residential complex and the regulatory framework specified for respective States.
These systems generate power during the day time which is utilized fully by powering captive loads and feed excess power to the grid as long as grid is available. In case, where solar power is not sufficient due to cloud cover etc., the captive loads are served by drawing power from the grid.

Such rooftop systems can be installed at the roofs of residential and commercial complex, housing societies, community centers, government organizations, private institutions etc.

The average cost of grid connected rooftop solar systems is about Rs. 80 per watt or Rs. 8.0crore per MWp capacity.

There is a provision of Central Financial Assistance of 15% of the total cost or Rs. 12 per watt or Rs. 1.20 crore per MWp under the Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Solar Plants Programme of the Ministry. This CFA has been reduced from 30% to 15%.

There are provisions of concessional import duty/excise duty exemption, accelerated depreciation and tax holiday for setting up of grid connected rooftop power plants.

Department of Financial services has instructed to all Public Sector Banks to encourage home loan/ home improvement loan seekers to install rooftop solar PV plants and include cost of system in their home loan proposals. So far, nine PSBs namely Bank of India, Syndicate Bank, State Bank of India, Dena Bank , Central Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Allahabad Bank, Indian Bank and Indian Overseas Bank have given instructions to extend loan for Grid Interactive Rooftop Solar PV Plants as home loan/ home improvement loan.

The rooftop solar systems from 1 kWp upto 500 kWp or in combination can be set up on the roofs.

About 10sq.m area is required to set up 1 kWp grid connected rooftop solar system.

  • Electricity generation at the consumption center and hence Savings in transmission and distribution losses
  • Low gestation time
  • No requirement of additional land
  • Improvement of tail-end grid voltages and reduction in system congestion with higher self-consumption of solar electricity
  • Local employment generation

According to a study conducted by TERI, a potential of 124 GWp SPV Rooftop plants has been estimated in the country. This can be achieved through active supports from the States.

  • Net metering

The grid connected rooftop system can work on net metering basis wherein the beneficiary pays to the utility on net meter reading basis only. Alternatively two meters can also be installed to major the export and import of power separately. The mechanism based on gross metering at mutually agreed tariff can also be adopted.

  • Feed-in-Tariff

In feed-in-tariff the Government offers a tariff for purchase of the solar power generated from such plants.

In case the grid fails, the solar power has to be fully utilized or stopped immediately feeding to the grid so as to safe-guard any grid person/technician from getting shock (electrocuted) while working on the grid for maintenance etc. This feature is termed as ‘Islanding Protection’.

  • States should have conducive solar policy to allow the grid connectivity.
  • State Regulators have issued tariff order for appropriate tariff, net-metering/feed-in tariff and the grid connectivity, and
  • The Distribution Companies agree to allow grid connectivity and purchase the electricity on feed-in-tariff or through net metering arrangement.

So far, 13 States/UTs namely Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have notified policies that include promotion of grid connected rooftop solar systems with net metering. Regulation from the State Electricity Regulatory Commission is also required to allow net metering/ feed-in-tariff.

20 State/UT Regulators from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry and Goa have so far issued these regulations for net-metering/gross metering.

India is endowed with vast solar energy potential. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy is incident over India’s land area with most parts receiving 3-5 kWh per sq. m per day. Based upon the availability of land and solar radiation, the potential of solar power in the country has been assessed to be 750 GWp.