Rooftop Solar has been a major underperformer. And for good reason. Not only have policies been muddled, actual information on the ground and other inputs are equally confusing to the average buyer. What should you do? Using Tata Power, TrinaHomes, and Zunroof, three different players, we bring you some answers.
It’s a tough call. A significant capital investment of anything from Rs 60,000 per Kw and multiples thereof, depending on the size of installation. A commitment that usually varies from 10 to 25 years. No wonder, solar rooftop has struggled with the smallest, retail segment so far. With the industry also facing commoditisation thanks to relentless government pressure on pricing, firms have to make a carefully thought decision to enter the retail market. As this is not the typical market that will deliver better margins straightaway. So in a way, now is as good a time as any for you, dear consumer, to consider solar as an option, as you will get the twin benefits of aggressive pricing and finally, some competition.
Under good conditions, a typical 1 KW set up is rated to deliver 120 units of power per month. Not in a polluted place like Delhi though, where generation will be lower. But not bad, especially for high power consumers. So if you are consumer who has the space to install solar, and a monthly average consumption of 500 units or more, this is for you.
Last week, one of India’s largest solar solutions provider Tata Solar Power formally entered the rooftop segment with its Residential Rooftop Solar Solutions service. A few days from that, one of the world’s leading solar module manufacturer Trina Solar announced their entry into the Indian rooftop sector with its TrinaHome service.
Tata launched its service during the inauguration of its new rooftop solar system at Vigyan Bhawan. As we understand it, the new launch basically marks a formal service that will target smaller installations, and faster set up. With a base price for setting up of a 10 KW system being quoted at around ₹50-60 per Watt not including net metering and subsidy fees, according to the company’s residential sector employee, the biggest system is the most economical according to him, and the price increases as the system size decreases to 5 kW and below. However, according to the company’s sales team the entire process of installation is expected to last just over 4 to 6 weeks. Larger players like Tata Solar don’t usually see the rooftop subsidy in various states as a selling point anymore, as prices are well below the subsidy benchmark rates, and unless you can speed up the process yourself, the firms believe it is not an attractive selling point for a user too. Thanks to the time it consumes, extending the deal closure as well as activation cycle to months, from weeks. Of course, they do have ground partners to support you with paperwork with your discom on net metering.
Available in variations of 3 kW, 5 kW and 10 kW, with different mounting systems for different roof-types, and a dedicated app through which customers can monitor power generation. Trina Solar is moving into the household and small-to-medium enterprise (SME) sector with the launch of Trinahome, its residential solar solutions. Following Tata Power Solar’s launch of the residential solutions, the Chinese PV maker says this is India’s first Home kit.
According to an authorised dealer the price of the complete kit is ₹47,000 (+GST) per kW for outright Kit purchase, while in a situation where we opt for a turnkey solution including net metering permissions would go upto Rs 54,000(+GST). These rates, if valid, compare very well with existing rates in the market from Tata Power Solar in particular. However, being a Chinese firm they will not be eligible for the governments subsidy scheme which only works for locally manufactured solar panels. The kits are currently being imported from China, however the company hopes to assemble it locally, in the coming months
Gaurav Mathur, India-Director of Trina Solar said, “The reason we decided to move into the household sector, is because we can see there is enormous market opportunity to bring solar energy to Indian consumers.”
Finally, Gurgaon based solar rooftop solutions provider Zunroof. The company claims to have the highest number of installed rooftop systems in North Indian states. Pranesh Chaudhary, Founder, Zunroof said, “The final price depends on way too many factors like subsidy and customised requests of structure but around ₹60,000 per kW is a price that we and our vendors are comfortable with.”
The entire interaction with the customer is managed by their app, which comes in handy even after installation. Providing all the tracking features and alerts. The quoted price further reduces by 25-30% thanks to the subsidy provided by the government in cases. Making this the economical choice of the bunch. Since, the key driving factor for an Indian household to shift to solar rooftop remains saving money for the time being.
Pranesh also said, “Customer should look for tech-based support for 25 years and a proven team and the one that brings them no hidden costs plus government subsidy. But most importantly, whichever team’s engineering can customise whatever the client needs. They should go with that firm.”