Distributed solar quality and safety in India: key challenges and potential solutions

In India, the quality and safety of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems—and their installation—have become a concern for investors, regulators, consumers, and distribution companies (discoms). The lack of quality standards and a push for low prices has led to the installation of poor-quality products and inferior system design and execution on site (Devi et al. 2018). These low-quality systems deliver less energy than expected and have a lower overall lifespan, which are serious issues for developers and investors whose return on investment depends on the amount of power generated from these solar systems for the expected life of the project. Equipment that does not conform to minimum quality standards also creates safety risks for business and homeowners. Overall, both performance and safety concerns lower investor and consumer confidence in solar products, threatening to slow market development, and are likely key contributing factors in slowing rooftop photovoltaic (RTPV) installations in India, particularly small capacity systems (less than 100kW). This report provides solar quality and safety information and best practices that can help increase confidence in RTPV in India, particularly for small-capacity systems, and thus accelerate the growth of that sector.