Lessons for Scaling Rooftop Solar PV
The City of Bengaluru in the Indian state of Karnataka is making progress on rooftop solar PV installations, mainly through its utility implemented net-metering program. Yet, much more needs to be done if the state is to reach its 400 MW rooftop solar target by 2018. This working paper provides insight into how the city can further encourage prosumers to install rooftop solar PV systems.
With over 9.6 million inhabitants, Bengaluru, in the state of Karnataka, is India’s fourth largest city. Like many utilities serving rapidly growing urban centers in developing countries, BESCOM, Bengaluru’s electricity utility, is struggling to supply sufficient power to meet demand. To meet demand and minimize the risks associated with droughts and erratic monsoons, BESCOM is looking to diversify its electricity supply through by encouraging “prosumers”, a consumer of electricity who also produces it and can sell it back to the grid, to install rooftop solar PV systems. In November 2014, BESCOM introduced a net-metering program that allows consumers who generate electricity from solar power to transfer their surplus to the grid. To date, the program has resulted in over 5.6 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar PV systems. Yet, the rate of new connections will need to accelerate if Karnataka is to meet its solar goal of 400 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar PV by 2018.
This working paper provides insight into how Bengaluru can encourage an increasing number of “prosumers” to install rooftop solar PV systems, specifically through BESCOM’s net-metering program. It offers initial recommendations for actions that will enable program administrators to strengthen BESCOM’s net metering program and increase prosumer interest and adoption of rooftop solar PV. It assesses current prosumers’ motivations and experiences with the program, and identifies barriers from the prosumers’ perspective.