Rooftops of small business: India’s solar energy secret weapon
Rakshith Kunder is adding more solar panels to the roofs of his warehouses. He isn’t seeking to save the planet, it’s pure economics.
“Solar power costs us just a third of grid power and has also reduced our diesel backup cost,” Kunder, 33, said by phone from the city of Kota, in the southern state of Karnataka. His Rs 3 billion ($46 million) fish-meal and oil-products business requires two megawatts of power and he plans to fulfill half of that through solar installations.
Businesses like Kunder’s are the next target for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government as it seeks to achieve 100 gigawatts of solar installations by 2022. Of that, 40 gigawatts is expected to come from rooftop installations. Small businesses, which contribute about a third to India’s $2 trillion economy, suffer from high power tariffs and erratic supply causing them to fall back on expensive and polluting diesel generators to keep the lights on