In a push to expand the country’s solar power capabilities, Indian electric companies are urging potential customers to rent out their rooftops to host solar panels. Their first target? Large industrial and commercial electricity consumers. Not only do the companies that host the panels end up with a significant discount on their power bill compared to the cost of local utilities, but developers save money on the most expensive aspect of solar development — the cost of purchasing large amounts of land to host their renewable energy projects.

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So far, a handful of renewable energy companies have started scouting out potential roofs to rent out, searching for industrial complexes, commercial buildings, malls, and even gated communities to host their solar panels. Government buildings like hospitals and office buildings may also end up hosting the panels. According to energy officials, it takes about 8 square meters of space (86 feet) to generate 1 kW of energy, and a minimum capacity of 30kW for an installation to be economically viable. That’s 240 square meters, or 2,500 square feet total.

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While this is a great way to increase solar capacity at a low cost, there are some major issues with the rental model that may be holding it back from wider adoption in India. For one thing, there is no set of standard model agreements, and the power companies don’t yet have a way to make the contracts legally binding. The means that while customers may rent out their roofs for lengthy periods of time, up to 25 years, they might be able to unexpectedly back out of an agreement. Until regulations catch up, it may be difficult for rooftop solar to really take off.

While roof rentals are a great idea for increasing solar energy anywhere in the world, they’re especially needed in India. Major cities like Delhi tend to suffer frequent power outages due to increasing demand, especially during the warmest months of the year.

Via Clean Technica

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