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Role of an aggregator in growth of the Rooftop solar market

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Solar uptake is escalating since grid parity has been achieved in the commercial sector and in the residential sector in some states. But what’s really going to make rooftop solar viral? What’s stopping end customers from going solar with benefits like accelerated depreciation being offered on the platter?

The single answer to all the questions above is standardization (read about it in Renewable Watch). There is no single place where people can go and buy. Different solar EPC companies offer a different price for the same component. There is definite reason for potential customers to be sceptical. The rooftop sector is extremely disorganized and there needs to be a platform for standardizing it.

End customers want a single platform where they can compare prices and features of different components and get a standard rate. They would also want certain quality standards met by all EPCs who offer them the service at a particular price. Finally, since timelines can vary to the extent that end customers get worried about the very completion of the solar power project, there is needs to be standardization in even that.

That’s where an aggregator plays a big role bringing forth this standardization (something like a SolarCity in USA). A platform where end customers, EPCs and component manufacturers can interact. Here is where all the demand can be aggregated which will bring down the cost of components and every EPC can benefit by buying at low prices.

End customers can put in their request on this platform for installing a rooftop solar power system and have themselves serviced by the platform for free. They can look at the platform as a Flipkart for solar energy- only in its very initial stages.

An influential platform like Google starting out Project Sunroof can change the game by gaining trust of the masses and make uptake of solar widespread. That said, there are smaller companies trying to do similar things and have been early in the market. It’s really left to test which one the aggregators will have a large pie of the market share.

When installation of solar becomes more common, end customers can function as their own installation company. All they need to do is, pick their components and services online and finally have the solar system setup in no time. That’s the dream.

Tanya Batra

Tanya keeps a close track of policy updates in the field of Rooftop Solar in India and likes to write blogs on its application for the end customer