The way forward
The rooftop solar sector is nowhere near the intended levels if we consider the official target of 40 GW, as only about 6 GW has been realized so far, with over 80 per cent of it coming from installations at the commercial and industrial (C&I) level. Although MNRE has brought out national-level subsidy policies, these would do little to stimulate the market as the volume to be financed by subsidy is merely 4 GW, notwithstanding the additional challenge of dealing with delays in subsidy disbursement. The step taken by the Central government to make distribution companies the most important stakeholder for the success of rooftop solar is a bold move that needs to be backed by quick action that should foresee and prevent negative fallouts and implementation problems. National-level directives have limited impact as state regulatory commissions decide the regulations that would affect participants in the electricity system. However, MNRE can leverage its substantial position for consensus-building among states such that policies and regulations move in a predictable direction across the country and ensure that feedback from private developers and the public is taken to arrive at a consensus for issues in the rooftop solar sector. At the moment, there is a high level of uncertainty about how the rooftop solar sector will progress and a large part of it is due to a policy and regulatory environment that does not provide sufficient stability and a long-term vision.