Jharkhand issues tender for 10 MW of residential rooftop solar projects

The Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (JBVNL) has floated a tender for the empanelment of agencies to install grid-connected rooftop solar PV power projects of various capacities anywhere in the state. The total capacity of the rooftop solar PV projects will be 10 MW for residential consumers only. The scope of work entails the empanelment of agencies for the design, manufacture, testing, supply, installation, and commissioning of grid-connected rooftop solar PV power projects in the state. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 540 million and the period of empanelment is for 12 months. The last date for the submission of bids is January 23, 2020.

A major roadblock in the residential rooftop segment is the small system size, which increases the payback period. Besides, many household owners want to use their terrace and do not want to accommodate solar systems. If they go for a raised structure to accommodate the solar system, the cost increases substantially, making the installation unviable. Moreover, rooftops are not uniform in India, which is a major pain point for developers. No efforts are being made to raise awareness in the residential segment.

As the profitability from each project is very low, the developers or EPC players in this space have no incentive to go for large-scale awareness campaigns. As a result, only those residential consumers install solar projects who know about the technology and are passionate about shifting to clean energy. In this scenario, consumers approach entrepreneurs and not the other way round. Thus, the role of entrepreneurs has to change.

Despite challenges, the future outlook for the rooftop segment remains positive, primarily due to the MNRE’s continuous efforts to change the discoms’ stance. In August 2019, the government released guidelines for the implementation of Phase II of the Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme, outlining the roadmap for achieving 40 GW of rooftop solar capacity by 2022. The availability of central financial assistance (CFA) for the residential segment and performance-based incentives for discoms, which have been assigned as nodal agencies, are the key highlights of the guidelines. The availability of CFA will provide a much-needed incentive to residential consumers to give up competitive grid power.

Meanwhile, the state discoms will benefit from performance-based incentives only if they deliver, which seems to be very challenging given the current state of the country’s discoms. Another positive step taken by the MNRE is the development of the State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index, which ranks all states in terms of their performance, growth, level of maturity, policy framework and implementation environment. This form of competitive federalism will foster growth in the segment.

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