Delhi eyes rooftop solar power

June 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

NEW DELHI: Delhi is trying to draw a few lessons from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model. Gandhinagar’s rent-a-roof project may help Delhi supplement the power supply in the capital with solar energy. If the model is replicated in Delhi, according to official sources, it has the potential to deliver 50-100 MW. This was discussed by the capital’s top bureaucrats with their Gujarat counterparts on Thursday.

On the direction of LG Najeeb Jung, three teams of senior officials have gone to the state to study the Gujarat model.

The two-day visit ends on Friday. Among the other things they are looking at are Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati riverfront project and the CCTV-based city surveillance system in Surat. On Thursday, the teams visited the river and several solar power projects.

Senior officials told TOI that under the rent-a-roof project, residents give their rooftops on hire to private solar energy companies who in turn pay them Rs 3 for every unit of energy produced. Similarly, rooftops of government buildings like schools and hospitals are also leased out for solar panels.

A team, headed by Delhi’s principal secretary (power), visited several solar power projects, including the ones at Gandinagar secretariat, fly ash dyke and houses where solar power is being generated on terraces. The team also met Mr. D.J. Pandeyan, additional chief secretary (energy).

The installed capacity of solar photovoltaic (PV) in Delhi till 2013 was only 2.5 MW compared to over 1000 MW in Gujarat. “A supposed lack of available space for solar PV in a highly urbanized and congested city like Delhi is often considered to be a key barrier,” says a report by Greenpeace India on Delhi’s solar rooftop potential. The same report estimates that of 700 sq km which is Delhi’s total built-up space, 31sqkm is available roof space that can be utilized for the solar roof top project and that has a potential to generate 2,557 MW, much higher than what Gujarat is generating currently.

Last week, when the LG had met prime minister Narendra Modi, among other things Yamuna is learnt to have been discussed and it was from there the contours of a Gujarat visit took shape. According to sources, Modi is learnt to have indicated to the LG that he is looking for quick results. The signals to Delhi hinted at breaking away from the past to steer change.

Clearly, with the Capital under President’s Rule and the BJP exploring its political options with the top leadership indicating at fresh polls, Modi’s Gujarat continues to be the BJP’s USP as a performance benchmark. If Delhi replicates the Gujarat projects, the BJP is expected to make this the highlight of its poll campaign here.

According to a statement issued by the LG’s office, Delhi government has sent three teams of senior officers from the government, power distribution companies and experts to Gujarat. “Gujarat has done pioneering work in solar power generation. Therefore, a team has been sent to Gujarat to study solar power projects and see the possibility of taking up such power projects and promoting solar power in Delhi.”

Another team spent the day at Ahmedabad studying the municipal corporation’s Sabarmati riverfront project which is an environmental improvement, social upliftment and urban rejuvenation project. The secretary (environment forest) and CEO, Delhi Jal Board, are part of this team.

A third team comprising senior Delhi Police officers has been sent to Surat to study the CCTV network there. The system has been helpful in prevention and detection of crime.

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