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Solar energy: Illuminating the Indian Realty landscape

With developers and property builders grappling with reformulating and streamlining their strategies to revive from an otherwise deflated yet dynamic housing market and wavering from taking up commercial projects owing to the risen capex involved, the Indian real estate sector is experiencing some sort of distress accompanied with a lack of buyer interest.
solarBurneet Kaur

Amidst a plethora of reasons for rising costs, one which cannot be overlooked is that of the rising expenditure involved in meeting the electricity consumption of buildings across the gamut of real estate sector. Resorting to electricity produced by the state government does not meet or suffice the overall demand, thus pushing property owners to consider adopting unfair means to meet the required deficit. At such a time, the renewed emphasis on the use of renewable energy by the Indian government, especially that of harnessing solar power, has come to the rescue of the real estate stakeholders helping them transform their stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

Solar energy has emerged as a game-changer for the real estate sector today. The Indian government’s ambitious plans of achieving 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022 with 40 GW coming from rooftop solar alone, are leading towards rapid deployment and adoption of solar power equipment, especially by the Indian real estate sector. Buildings ranging from commercial establishments, educational institutions to residential apartments are all resorting to rooftop solar panels to meet most of their energy requirement, thus substantially cutting down on their power expenditure. With favourable state policies coming into play and with an aim to differentiate their brands from the clutter, most real estate developers are increasingly turning to solar roof projects and installations to reduce their electric bills and carbon footprint. The realty industry is currently experiencing what can be termed as a revolution of sorts.

With solar panels getting cheaper and the price of producing PV cells dipping, more and more people are working towards embracing the sun’s energy. Large scale property builders have even gone a step ahead, as not only are they making the best use of this abundantly available energy to cut down their own costs, rather some of them have now made it a source of income as they sell the surplus energy produced to the state. Most current and future projects are being planned  with solar power generation and net metering systems being taken into account.

While investing in solar energy alongside other renewable energy sources highly impacts a company’s credentials and ensures reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, much also depends on the local or state regulations in determining how much can a company save on its expenses or generate through solar power. The government’s recent move towards making solar plants mandatory across all government and private educational institutions, offices private hospitals and commercial buildings has clearly laid down the foundation of moving towards energy – efficient and solar power equipped buildings.  Also, the drop in the per-unit cost of solar panels is boosting many real estate players for moving towards solar power as it is indeed impacting and improving their bottom line with extremely little initial or maintenance costs. Commercial buildings and offices are showing a strong preference towards installing solar panels on their rooftops thereby experiencing a massive reduction in the otherwise overall power expenditure.

So far, not very many developers have been making optimum utilisation of the benefits of solar power, fearing the initial costs which one has to incur in setting up rooftop solar panels also due to the apprehensions stemming from a relatively new technology. However, a wide segment of the entire lot has begun experimenting by employing this in their residential projects and subsequently planning to move them to bigger commercial projects. On the other hand, there are certain realty firms which are aiming towards complete energy independence by investing in more expensive technology which guarantees best results from solar power. Fortunately, with the Government’s introduction of an array of financial structuring programs and certain tax benefits aiming towards promoting solar power, the Indian real estate sector is upbeat and optimistic on its returns from the power of sunrays.


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