Ritu Lal heads the institutional relations division at Amplus Solar. She drives policy advocacy for the company and the distributed solar industry through engagement with government bodies, industry, trade associations, think tanks, development agencies, etc. She has been with Amplus from its early days and previously also led its business development portfolio. Lal has over 20 years of professional experience. Prior to the solar industry, she worked with GlaxoSmithKline and DSM.
According to Lal, India is on course to achieve its 100 GW by 2022 solar target; however, the sectoral target of 40 GW from the rooftop segment is a cause for concern. The solar utility segment is growing rapidly and large-scale solar farms are being looked at to meet the deficit from the rooftop segment, she notes. That said, she believes that rooftop solar has a very important role to play in a country like India. Apart from the fact that rooftop solar is set up on idle spaces that have no commercial value or alternative use, there are other inherent advantages – it does not require any additional transmission or distribution infrastructure, has no distribution losses, is simple to set up and the distributed spread of generation makes it easier for grid balancing.
The key challenges facing rooftop solar are policy and regulatory issues, especially those that restrict its growth in the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment. As the high tariff makes rooftop solar a very attractive proposition for C&I customers, states have reacted by imposing restrictions in their rooftop solar policy.
Lal believes that the current model where discoms have been excluded from the savings generated by rooftop solar is unsustainable. According to her, solar tariffs should be structured in such a manner that part of the savings are shared with the discoms. “This will change the role of discoms from a passive inhibitor to an active enabler, as they will stand to gain from every unit of solar generated within their territory. States will be free to have progressive rooftop solar policies and the segment will finally be able to grow to its full potential,” she says.
An MBA from FMS, Delhi, Lal enjoys mentoring young solar professionals and industry start-ups. She is also frequently invited by various industry associations to share her expertise in rooftop solar.