Solar Circuit

Power-starved Delhi would do well to emulate Gandhinagar for rooftop solar power generation.

Given that the Centre, under prime minister Narendra Modi, is working on a plan to meet a significant portion of power demands of major cities through solar or wind generation by 2019, power-starved states should emulate the Gandhinagar model from the Modi-led days of Gujarat if they are to meet this target. Rooftop generation in Gandhinagar, where solar developers rented the terraces of residential and public buildings for setting up solar panels, now accounts for 2 MW of the total generated in the state annually. The developers pay the house-owners R3 per unit generated from the latter?s roofs while the state government buys the power generated for the grid. Rooftop generation is catching on in other states as well, the latest being Karnataka. The state is pushing for a do-it-yourself model for house-owners, encouraging them to set up solar arrays on the roofs and derive a part or all of their power needs from these and sell the surplus to the government. Neighbouring Tamil Nadu has announced a 50% subsidy on solar panels?a typical one kilowatt photovoltaic solar panel costs

R1 lakh?for residential rooftop installation.

Contrast this with the power-starved national capital, Delhi, which had to junk a 2011draft plan for rooftop generation as the costs seemed unviable then. Challenges on the cost front still remain given how, despite solar technology getting cheaper, it remains out of the reach individual households, thanks to India taxing solar panel imports. Which is why Delhi could benefit from replicating the Gandhinagar model?the developers assume the cost of generation, supply shortfall is mitigated to a certain extent while house-owners derive a rent from their terraces.

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First published on: 11-06-2014 at 01:40 IST