Solar market is on fire from 2009 onwards in India. Till now, market has seen revolutionary decrease in cost of solar electricity generation and it can be clearly noted that the market has also seen drastic change in solar electricity tariff. It had been started from 17.91 INR/ kWh and it has come down to around 6 INR/ kWh. Government has introduce many policies and subsidies for the solar investor, but the question is, do these subsidies really make solar electricity cheaper? I don’t think so. A well planned solar plant/ solar roof top system give more clarity on investment returns and investment cost options. In this article, I want to discuss our personal case.

Last month, I installed a rooftop system on my own house to run lighting load, However, I made my decision further challenging. I took bold brave decision to run my Air-conditioner on solar electricity. The motivation was to save environment and money by running my Air-conditioner load on solar electricity and preach the lesson of silent & cheaper solar energy to word with in house example.

We have been successfully running my ACs on solar on solar electricity from a month. The system uses 70 W Thin film solar panels from Solar Frontier (JAPAN), 2 kW inverter (96 V), and battery bank 96 V, 100 Ah (8*12V, 100 Ah). The system is designed in such a way that 3 PV module connected in series. 05 V electricity adequate enough to charge your batteries. In a typical day 2 kW solar PV system produce about 8-10 unit of solar electricity which is stored in battery bank. The inverter used is a hybrid inverter which can also charge my batteries with grid electricity in case solar electricity is not available. However, in case solar electricity and grid electricity both are available the system is designed as an intelligent system which will charge by battery on priority on solar electricity.

Now comes to financing of my solar rooftop system. I have been working as a consultant with MNRE and very much familiar with in and out of claiming government subsidy for rooftop systems. Following are the some reasons for not claim the government subsidy

  1. In order to claim the government subsidy, rooftop system would have installed only through channel partners of MNRE which would have costed about 180- 200 INR/W. Our cost of complete installation is about 110 INR/W including the battery bank. As solar practitioners, we don’t mind to design my system by my own and installation of a rooftop system is no more a rocket science
  2. The modules are of thin film module CIGS, more suitable for a typical rooftop application as thin film generates electricity during the cloudy days as well and it has better flexibility to accommodate shading effect as a part of your roof top system. The domestic content requirement for claiming subsidy would have forced us to by solar module only from the domestic supplier which are relatively costly as compare to imported modules.
  3. If we want to claim subsidy it would have taken minimum six- 8 month through the government machinery and channel partner and a normal rooftop investor don’t believe getting money after expenditure. 
  4. Presently, we can’t connect our solar rooftop system to the grid and that is the reason we have a large battery bank of 96 V 100 Ah capacity, as there is no net metering policy is available from government side. There is a typical believe in the utility engineers, if I hook up my rooftop solar plant to grid, it may cause some disturbance to existing network.

We would like to end this article with a note that Bright future of solar market is just few steps away and we have strong believe that solar market can’t grow in government subsidy myth. People should educate themselves about solar market and explore un-subsidized solar market options.     

Posted by: Gaurav K. Sharma and Dr. Sanjay Vashishtha   


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