Challenges for Rooftop Solar Power Plants

  • Getting the domestic consumer interested in solar power is perhaps the most important step to popularize rooftop solar installations.
  • A battery pack can add about 25-30% to the initial system cost of a rooftop PV solar system for one day autonomy (storing an entire day’s output).
  • Despite abundant raw material — sunshine — the country has still not been able to scale up solar power production, since focus still remains on generation from fossil-fuels.
  • Besides infrastructure, tariff is an issue with this source of energy. Currently, solar power tariffs stand at about ₹6.50-7.50 a unit after an about 30 per cent subsidy. Without subsidy, the rates would be about ₹ 10/unit.
  • A report by World Bank in 2010 pointed out certain policy and regulatory barriers as key impediments to solar power development in India.
  • Effective storage becomes an important issue during India’s monsoon season. In the current scenario, solar power for households can only be stored in expensive batteries made from environmentally toxic materials.
  • After-sales service was also identified as a challenge area for small-scale project developers.
  • Solar power, being more erratic than conventional power, poses an important challenge to grid stability. With multiple small solar projects connected to the grid, there is a possibility that the electricity network can become imbalanced.
  • Even with subsidies, the installation cost of a domestic solar system at present remains high for most consumers in India.
  • It is possible that power generated from sources other than solar, including utility supply and power generated from subsidized fuels, is fed into the grid, and a model like feed-in-tariff could end up being misused.
  • It also poses a high burden as purchasing power from individual households might be uncompetitive, as the per unit cost of electricity may be higher due to the small size of the project.
  • Another concern for the domestic consumer would be ownership (in case of shared roof) and renting the roof for rooftop solar projects.