Putting in a Rooftop Solar System on Your Dwelling in Karnataka? Here is What You Must Know

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Installing a Rooftop Solar System on Your Home in Karnataka? Here's What You Need to Know

Solar systems on the roof of residential buildings are growing in popularity because of the ease of installation and the savings they offer homeowners.

According to Mercom’s latest report, India Rooftop Solar Market Report Q2 2021, 521 MW of rooftop solar systems have been installed in the country, 53% of which are residential (276 MW). Although Gujarat is the leader in rooftop solar systems, Karnataka is also featured in the list of the top 10 states.

The government has set itself the goal of installing 4 GW of solar capacity on the roofs of residential buildings by 2022 and providing central financial aid (CFA) or a grant in the process. Under this program, distribution companies (DISCOMs) intend to install 72 MW in Karnataka – Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) – 30 MW, Hubli Electricity Supply Company (20 MW), Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company (10 MW), Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (10 MW) and Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (2 MW).

In order to run this program, the DISCOMs installers empanels through competitive tenders. All apartment owners who want to take advantage of funding must ensure that the empaneled partners take over the installation. DISCOMs keep a list of these embedded or channel partners. For these installations it is mandatory that only solar panels made in India are used. The highest costs (benchmark costs) that these empaneled installers have stated for solar systems on the roof under BESCOM law are listed in the following table. The subsidies are calculated on the basis of these costs.

In the absence of DISCOMs involving installers, the MNRE benchmark costs published for the year are taken over.

Consumers are responsible for the cost of the system, with the exception of the grant from MNRE if they opt for the empaneled installers with locally sourced solar panels.

Consumers can also choose the installers and technology of their choice if they do not wish to receive the promotion. The cost of a rooftop solar system depends on the technology chosen to improve power generation efficiency. The better the technology, the higher the cost of the system.

Price range – the result of diverse technologies

According to roof installers, the costs for a 1 kW rooftop system vary depending on the technology used and factors such as location, logistics, type of solar modules and inverters. An advanced technology module will cost more and add to the total cost of the rooftop solar system.

In Karnataka the demand for solar systems on the roof is growing. Installers believe it will only get better in the near future.

In an interview with Mercom, Dhwani Sunku, Manager, Sales & Marketing, U-Solar Clean Energy said: “The costs for solar roof systems on the roof vary from state to state, depending on the process. The DISCOMs charge higher application and brokerage fees for the Empanelment in order to limit the number of applying installers. “

“The price of a roof-top system depends entirely on the technology used. If we use 380W modules and string inverters, the price for a 1kW system is around 35,000 yen (~ $ 476) and up to around 85,000 for 450W modules and Enphase inverters (microinverters) Yen (~ USD 1,156). . When using microinverters that optimize the performance for each module, the cost is generally higher than the benchmark cost, ”said Dhwani.

“Ideally, the Department of New and Renewable Energy should have benchmark costs for each technology. Instead, however, they issued a benchmark cost, which is impractical. Using galvanized aluminum for the systems also reduces costs, while structural steel extends longevity. But then the price rises, ”says Dhwani.

Net metering facility

The government’s decision to allow net metering for loads up to 500 kW has also been well received by stakeholders. With net metering, the exported solar power is compared with the energy consumed in the electricity bill and benefits a consumer. Mercom has covered the financial benefit of a net metering facility.

“Providing net metering of up to 500 kW is a good step and will help the DISCOMs. We should also consider removing the third-party gross metering. Also, a lot of apartments in Bangalore are going solar and we have to redirect everything to one meter, which is very difficult for large housing associations. You should have different counters for each block and that will improve the overall installation process, ”explained Dhwani.

Originally the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission had proposed to allow a net measurement for solar roof projects between 1 kW and 10 kW and a gross measurement for capacities above 10 kW. Later, however, it allowed net measurements for systems up to 500 kW.

Advanced technology modules and microinverters

Gururaj BR, Vice President, IT, Orb Energy, says, “The cost of the systems will vary based on site conditions and other country-specific reasons. At some locations we have flat roofs, at others we have pitched roofs. This affects the total cost of the project. It is easier to install a system on a pitched roof. In Karnataka we also have to coordinate with the DISCOMs to synchronize the system, so the price is comparatively higher. Currently, the lowest cost for a 1kW system is around (~ $ 476) / kW and can go as high as $ 55,000 (~ 748) / kW depending on the location and the technology used for the system. The price gets higher if we use Enphase inverters with 450W modules and a weather monitoring system. In some cases we also do the synchronization, which further increases costs. “

“At the moment the roof systems in Karnataka are doing well, especially in the residential segment. The government needs to focus on the business aspect. It is helpful for everyone in the long run if the requirements of the customers are met. The decision to allow net metering for loads up to 500 kW is a step in this direction, ”he said.

Karnataka is on the cusp of the rooftop boom, but challenges remain

Earlier this year, Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited issued the “Draft Karnataka Renewable Energy Policy 2021-2026” to develop 20 GW of renewable energy projects; 2 GW of this will be roof solar.

A rooftop solar installer senior executive commented, “Only Karnataka has a policy that all models of inverters used for rooftop solar panels should be equipped with BESCOM.” This added another layer of procedural work that after View of those involved is inadequate, voluminous and expensive.

“The benchmark costs only apply to string inverters, not microinverters, which are an updated version. There are actually price differences in every federal state. This may be due to government subsidies and other country-specific reasons. In Gujarat, the price for a 1 kW system is much lower than anywhere in India. The price is somewhere around 29,000 / kW. Currently, the price in Karnataka for a 1 kW system varies from (~ 476) $ (price / kW for an output of around 1 MW) to 105,000 (~ 1,415 $) / kW (for projects with microinverters). For a 1 kW system (projects with string inverters) the price is around 90,000 / kW. “

Karnataka has set an example of the successful introduction of mandatory solar water heaters in residential homes. It was recommended to follow the model set by the state. The state has the opportunity to set a similar example with solar systems on the roof of residential buildings.


Rakesh is a reporter at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, he held many positions as business correspondent, deputy editor, senior content writer and editor at bcfocus.com, CIOReview / Silicon India, Connect Communication and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). More articles from Rakesh Ranjan.

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