IGEF Session at Intersolar India 2016: Indo German Energy Dialogue: Promising Technologies and Business Models for Grid-Connected Rooftop Photovoltaic in India

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Conference session on promising technologies and business models for rooftop photovoltaic at Intersolar India, Mumbai

Over 230 exhibitors were presenting their products, services and solutions for the solar industry at Intersolar India from 19th - 21st October in Mumbai. The exhibition was accompanied by the Intersolar India Conference, where the Indian market for solar energy with focus on private rooftop mounted photovoltaic installations were the centre of attention.With 40 GW of grid-connected solar rooftop installations as part of India's overall solar target of 100 GW by 2022, grid-connected residential solar rooftop is considered to have an enormous development in the upcoming years. Currently, around 9 GW of solar photovoltaics capacity is installed including around 1 GW of rooftop photovoltaics. The rooftop installations to a large extend can be found on commercial and industrial rooftops while the development of the residential rooftop market is still developing slower than expected. The task to upscale the rooftop sector to 40 GW in next six years is daunting. The Government of Germany through Indo-German Energy FORUM, GIZ, PTB and KfW Development Bank is supporting federal and state governments to achieve this feat by introducing new business models, technological innovations, quality infrastructure measures and financing.

The Indo-German Energy FORUM together with GIZ solar energy team and international experts introduced promising technologies and business models which could revolutionise the Indian rooftop sector. A highly successful community level aggregation of interest in residential solar rooftops called “Solarize” was presented by Dr. Ryan Cook, an MIT graduate and senior consultant with the Meister consultants group. GIZ under its new project on rooftop photovoltaic would be piloting this business model in few states cooperating with state nodal agencies and urban local bodies.

Limited rooftop space coupled with high energy demands of both heat and electricity calls for innovative technologies which have higher energy output to a unit of rooftop space. Photovoltaic thermal (PVT) modules can deliver up to 1000 Watts from the standard sized PV module. Alban Hessberger showcased exemplary case studies on PVT from Germany. GIZ along with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is in process of designing demonstration projects to assess performance monitoring in Indian weather conditions and different load applications. The objective is to facilitate Make in India mission of Government of India through local manufacturing of these modules.

Contrary to the perception that quality is being compromised with such competitive pricing of photovoltaics, the solar system should perform as per design expectations. This involves transparency down to the module where the electricity is actually produced. That this can be done in a very simple and cost effective manner was explained by Ingmar Kruse, CEO of SunSniffer Germany. His solution involves incorporating a small sensor in the junction box and transmitting the information through direct current cables. Costs are under a rupee per watt peak and can ensure performance ratio of over 95 per cent. This holds promising for project developers and investors alike to ensure that their investments are paid back as expected.

As many Indian roofs are flat and usually have a high reflectivity, it makes an interesting case to use both sides of a photovoltaic panel to catch the sunlight and produce electricity. Market expectations for so called bifacial modules in combination with glass-glass technology are high. Dr. Rentsch, Fraunhofer Institute of solar energy systems (ISE) presented emerging technologies in bifacial modules and their expected energy gains. He demonstrated that roughly 10-20 per cent gain from the same roof area can be achieved.

The presentations were made by experts in a conference session on “Promising Technologies and Business Models for Grid-connected Rooftop Photovoltaic in India” on 19th October 2016 at Intersolar India, Mumbai. On 20th October this session was followed by detailed deliberation on each of the topics in a focused group chaired by Shri. Sohail Akhtar, Advisor at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Important organisations such as the Association of Renewable Energy Agencies of States (AREAS), the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI), Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI), FICCI and the German Solar Association (BSW) supported this event.

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