ROOFTOP SOLAR PLANTS
A rooftop photovoltaic power station, or rooftop PV system, is a photovoltaic system that has its electricity-generating solar panels mounted on the rooftop of a residential or commercial building or structure. The various components of such a system include photovoltaic modules, mounting systems, cables, solar inverters and other electrical accessories.
Rooftop mounted systems are small compared to ground-mounted photovoltaic power stations with capacities in the megawatt range. Rooftop PV systems on residential buildings typically feature a capacity of about 5 to 20 kilowatts (kW), while those mounted on commercial buildings often reach 100 kilowatts or more.
Rooftop Solar is the new concept that has caught the attention of Solar industry watchers. After an enormous leap towards utility scale solar power plants in India, the players are finally moving to the untapped market of rooftop solar power plants in India. The change in direction may seem simplistic to a layman, but this change entails a plethora of surprises and challenges.
Firstly, the biggest change is the consideration of shadow effects. The rooftops in India are not custom made for the installation of rooftop solar power plants. The rooftops are full of various structures, heat vents, containers, water tanks, etc. The design of the solar project becomes a challenge of altogether different level.
Secondly, unlike utility scale projects on clear grounds, away from the densely- populated cities and under the skies, rooftop solar power plants in India are put up in the cities with pollution and not so open areas leading to high temperature and low irradiation for solar panels.
Thirdly, the rooftops do not always allow the most favorable direction for solar project installation, i.e., South. The roofs determine the direction and hence, the generation takes a hit.
Fourthly, the rooftop solar power plants are of miniscule sizes when compared with the utlity scale solar power plants. Thus, the economies of scale come into play which in turn hits the viability of the project.
Finally, the availability of load at client’s end, the net metering regulations, etc. play a role too in the financial feasibility of the rooftop solar power plants in India.
With all such difficulties, the boom in rooftop solar power plants surely needs policies that favor the growth of this segment of solar industry. Many companies have recently sprung that have taken the onus to make the rooftop solar segment a success story in India. Primarily, the market ran on Capex model, wherein the consumer used to fund the project.
However, with the BOOT (Build, Operate, Own and Transfer) model, the market has flourished and the vision of 40 GW of rooftop solar power plants in India by 2022 seems not so distant.