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Solar firms see sunrise on residential rooftop


Solar firms see sunrise on residential rooftop

In their rush to grab the first mover advantage in the segment, they are hopping onto the rooftop even before the government came out with proposed sops

Even before the government has come out with policies and regulations to give rooftop solar a big push, major solar companies are looking to tap opportunities in the residential rooftop solar kit segment to grab a big chunk of the market.

Currently, the total installed capacity in rooftop solar segment – commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential – is just 2 gigawatt (GW), way below the government's goal of 40 GW by 2022.

Trina Solar, a Chinese company and the second-largest solar photovoltaic (PV) producer in the world, has already begun peddling its branded residential solar rooftop kits in the configuration of 3 kilowatt-single phase inverter, 5 kW-three phase inverter, and 10 kW- three-phase inverter.

The company, which has already shipped over 3 GW of solar modules into India, has held back around $ 1 billion of its investment for setting up a solar module, cells, ingots, and wafer manufacturing plant due to uncertainties relating to government policies. However, it has sniffed huge potential in residential rooftop solar, which has lower risks and a swifter return on investment (RoI).

Gaurav Mathur, director of sales, Trina Solar India, told DNA Money that he expects the residential rooftop solar to be 50% of the total market going forward and his company was trying to get the first-mover advantage.

"Utility and rooftop market will be 50:50. That is the reason we are preparing ourselves for a residential rooftop solar market with our brand Trinahome," he said

Adarsh Das, co-founder and CEO of SunSource Energy, which has built 120-130 commercial and institutional rooftop installations across 20-22 states in India of 50-60 megawatts (MW), is also gearing up to usurp the huge potential in the residential rooftop solar systems.

He, however, said he was watching the grid parity before he makes a foray into this segment. "We are geared up for it (residential rooftop solar) but I believe the economic viability is still some time away," said Das.

Das feels that with Trina's scale and experience in Chinese market it would easily be able to offer competitive products and after-sale service.

"I wouldn't be surprised if these people were able to sell 30,000-50,000 kits a year. It would not be an unachievable number in today's market," he said.

Interestingly, Indian energy firm Su-kam, which is operating in this space, is grappling with financial troubles. Another major brand in rooftop solar installation is Luminous.

This segment is largely dominated by unorganised operators, which has resulted in poor installations and shoddy after-sale services.

Read the full story on DNA