India has 637 GW of residential rooftop solar energy potential: CEEW report

According to a report by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), over 250 million households across India have the potential to deploy 637 GW of solar energy capacity on rooftops. Further, the CEEW report found that deploying just one-third of this total solar technical potential could support the entire electricity demand of India’s residential sector that is approximately 310 TWh.

However, the technical potential reduces to one-fifth (118 GW) after factoring in the current electricity consumption of households. Most residential consumers fall into low-consumption slabs and solar may not be economically feasible for them without financial support even though it is technically possible. The potential reduces further to 11 GW when no capital subsidy is considered, the payback period for rooftop solar is restricted to five years and the consumers’ willingness to buy rooftop solar is factored in. However, with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s capital subsidy, the potential increases to 32 GW making the solar systems feasible for more consumers.

The CEEW report, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, did a bottom-up analysis across 21 Indian states that cover 97 per cent of the country’s population. It found that 60 per cent of the residential rooftop potential is concentrated in just seven states — Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.

According to another CEEW report released recently, solarising residential households offers huge economic benefits to power distribution companies (discoms). The study on solarising rural households in Bihar and Meghalaya highlights lifetime economic gains of around Rs 27 billion per 100 MW of solar capacity to discoms. The benefits will be due to reduced cross-subsidy burden, improved transmission and distribution losses, and lower average cost to serve consumers.

The full reports can be read here: Mapping India’s Residential Rooftop Solar Potential: A Bottom-up Assessment using Primary Data and Community Solar for Advancing Power Sector Reforms and the Net-Zero Goals.