Is solar electricity cheaper than grid electricity in India?

There is lot of variation in the grid electricity tariffs in India, each state have different tariffs, which depends on category of usage like domestic and commercial. Domestic tariffs are relatively lower than the commercial tariffs in almost all the states. We observed same variation in solar electricity tariffs also, solar electricity cost depends on few factors like type of rooftop systems , availability of sun and geographical location of power plants. The price of photovoltaic panels, which account for a major chunk of a solar power plants cost, have plunged by 35% in the last year. Investment in solar projects can be return back in 7-10 years depending on usage and type of rooftop solar panels.

Average cost of electricity generated by the solar plant is 7-8.50/kWh, which is much lower than the power generated by diesel generators. Electricity generated by diesel generator costs around Rs. 16/kWh (a litre of diesel generates around 3-4 kWh per litre). In some applications, such as rural telecom towers, diesel power can cost as much as Rs. 40/kWh.

Rooftop Solar vs. Grid

Rooftop solar may be cheaper than the depending on the state and category of consumer. for example

-A Commercial Consumer in Haryana consuming greater than 500 kWh in a billing cycle will pay Rs. 12.01/kWh which is much more expensive than rooftop solar power.

  • – Domestic consumer in Haryana consuming  less than 100 kWh per billing cycle will pay Rs. 4.50/kWh, it is higher than the solar tariffs.

Conclusion

Rooftop solar PV offers an opportunity to fix a part of your energy cost for the next 25 years. The levelised cost* of power from your solar PV plant remains constant through the lifetime of the plant, but the cost of both grid and diesel power will keep on increasing. A rooftop solar power plant installed today will provide cheaper-than-grid power in a few years’ time once the grid tariffs rise beyond the cost of solar power.

 

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