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Here Comes the Sun: Residential Consumers’ Experience with Rooftop Solar PV in Five Indian Cities

This working paper documents residential consumers’ experiences with solar rooftop PV systems. The data is captured through household surveys conducted across five Indian cities. The study is an attempt to understand the challenges faced by residential consumers at various stages of their decision pertaining to the installation of rooftop solar PV systems.

Key Findings

Executive Summary

  • India has set an ambitious target of achieving 40 gigawatts (GW) of rooftop solar capacity by 2022. The installed capacity of rooftop solar as of July 2018 was 1,222 megawatts (MW)—this is less than 5 percent of the 2022 target.1 While there has been progress in the form of improvements in the performance of solar panels, availability of financing options, and favorable policy and regulatory ecosystems, rooftop solar in the residential sector is yet to gain momentum. Studies exploring reasons for poor uptake have approached the issue from the technical, institutional, and financial aspects. However, unlike traditional grid-based supply, meeting rooftop solar targets requires the active participation of the consumer; and therefore, it is important to look at the sector from the consumer’s perspective.

  • This working paper documents and analyzes the experiences of the residential electricity consumer with installing rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems through household surveys in five Indian cities.

  • Addressing three key challenges—lack of clear, objective, and accessible information for installation; absence of customized financing options; and lack of coordination in institutional priorities and processes—can enhance residential consumers’ experience in installing rooftop solar PV.

  • Consumers’ experiences are contextual. Top-down approaches must be complemented by bottom-up initiatives involving multiple local stakeholders, while ensuring the rights and welfare of the consumer.

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