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Peering into the future:India and the distributed standalone solar products market

India is the world’s single largest market for portable lanterns, and even though there is a trend towards electrification across the country, there is still potential for a range of other products as well. It represented over 30% of the global volume share of sales in the first half of 2018 for distributed standalone solar products sector - as reported in the H1 Global Off-Grid Solar Market Report published by GOGLA and the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global program. This study was commissioned by GOGLA to support its members who are developing the distributed standalone solar products market in India. 

The overall private player driven market is estimated to grow by two to three times to reach INR 16,468 million (USD 206 million) to INR 26,178 million (USD 327 million) by 2023. Most of the future sales are estimated to come from lanterns with additional services (like mobile charging, radio, etc.) and solar home systems. Increasing incomes and greater energy demand are amongst key drivers. Solar home systems, particularly with higher wattages (ranging from 100 Wp to 400 Wp) are expected to increase. The growth will come mainly in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Mizoram where there is increased electrification but outages are likely to remain for the next few years.

The Indian government has shifted its focus towards the solar pumping segment. This segment received a fillip in March 2018 with the announcement of the KUSUM scheme wherein a key component is to setup 1.75 million off-grid solar pumps by 2022: nearly ten times the number of current installed pumps. A few levers will be key in realizing the potential, among them are strengthening distribution for an expanded product range and specialized segment-specific financing, where some specialized players are emerging. There are a number of factors that could change the dynamics within the sector, including 24/7 electrification programs reaching all parts of India.

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