Millennium Post

Let there be light

For power starved national Capital, solar power seems to be only way to have a lasting solution. The use of solar power would reduce their dependence on electricity from thermal power plants and also ensure some income for those who would manage to sell the power generated through solar panels back to the grid. Delhi government in tandem with Central government is working on an ambitious project to install solar power systems on roof of the residential buildings, atop apartment blocks, malls, community centres, government offices and big corporate offices as well.

The seriousness of the Aam Aadmi Party  (AAP) government’s desire to use solar power as an alternative source of energy in the national Capital is evident from the fact that a task force has been constituted on renewable energy under Delhi Dialogue Commission, the policy panel of the government.

“A delegation from Germany recently met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and expressed desire to cooperate with Delhi government in the area of renewable energy besides transportation,” confirmed a Delhi government official.

According to government sources, in initial consultations, experts have advised that the most feasible option for Delhi will be to set up rooftop solar systems for large commercial establishments on school building, malls and industries first, even residents can reduce their electricity bills drastically by investing in rooftop Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) systems. “The city govenrment is steadily moving to implement its solar project as per its blue print drafted in its election manifesto through ‘Delhi Dialogues’ in which various stake holder had given their inputs. In its budget allocation for the
2015-2016, the Union government has set its renewable energy capacity target at 175 GW by 2022 in which solar power has a lion’s share of 100 GW. A favourable regulatory framework and speedy implementation will be critical for capacity addition as the budgetary allocation has risen from five per cent to Rs 6,161 crore,” said an official.

According to some studies, for solar panel installations just 1.6 per cent of roof space in the national Capital is sufficient to generate 2 GW of electricity by 2020. The government is however contemplating the options of using open spaces to trap solar power but rooftop solar could be an important component in achieving for solar power but they have some limitations. For example, there are huge number of roofs in Delhi which are not suitable for installing solar panels.

Roofs of relatively older buildings which require major refurbishment are also not deemed suitable for installing solar panels with an expected lifespan of 20-25 years. A building’s orientation also plays an important role as other factors such as solar panels on roofs should be mounted south-facing, it should be made clear that there are no shadows of trees or adjoining buildings etc.

Cost: One of the primary and much-talked about issues is the high upfront cost involved in putting up solar panels on rooftops. The price range in India is much stiffer and higher compared to developed markets such as Germany and Japan. The major cost of owning a solar power units is involved primarily with the equipment such as solar panels, housing components, inverter, metering equipment, cables and wiring gears. Battery storage has its own added cost, which the owners of rooftop solar system need not buy in case of grid-connected systems, as the utility pays for excess electricity that is fed into the grid.

The cost of solar panels now falls around Rs 55 per watt. Over and above the installation costs, there are costs linked with operating and maintaining a PV solar array. The total investment, taking into account all the costs, would come to anywhere around Rs 1.25 lakh per kilowatt. Therefore, the upfront investment for switching to a solar power system for a five kilowatt household will be close to Rs 6.5 lakh.

Currently, the Ministry of New and renewable Energy (MNRE) offers 30 per cent subsidy on solar equipment. Even the Delhi government is likely to increase subsidies, which will bring down the cost even further.

A 5 KW system will cost Rs 6.65 lakh after the MNRE subsidy but what is most important is roof space. It means that personal solar energy has never been cheaper. “We will bring the best available technology in the world to ensure maximum solar power generation in the city,” said Ashish Khetan, Vice Chairman of Delhi Dialogue Commission.

According to an assessment done by Tata power Delhi Distribution Limited for four-bedroom homes the total cost would be Rs 12 lakhs. “Assuming usual loads in four BHK house – the connected load can be of five ACs, seven lights, two water heaters, five fans, one TV and refrigerator – a 12 KW system will do. However, all of these equipment do not run simultaneously usually. Such a 12 KW system will cost about Rs 12 lakh,” said spokesperson of TDDPL.

There are many solar equipment companies in Delhi, which are empanelled with the ministry of New and renewable Energy for the “Capital subsidy scheme”. Meanwhile, manufacturers and traders of solar units are happy moods, ‘We hope that the government waives the five per cent VAT Rajsthan government has done, In Kerala VAT is only one per cent. Since pricing is the main problem, so any financial incentive will be good,” said Jose George, a Dwarka-based manufacturer and Trader. The per unit price of solar power has come down in the last three years. From Rs 20 per unit to
Rs 6.50-Rs 7 now. But the price is still higher as compared to conventional power.

Delhi govt’s agenda to make Capital a solar powered City

Meet 20 per cent of Delhi’s electricity needs with solar power
2. Subsidise home solar units
3. Solar power centres for slums and low-income groups
4. People will be able to sell extra solar power to the grid
5. Existing Solar Projects in national Capital

Public Buildings:
*Solar systems installed at Parliament House, Thyagaraj Sports complex, Delhi Secretariat, Delhi Metro, Vikas Bhavan-2, ISBT, IGI Airport
* Tata Power Delhi’s rooftop solar panel projects across North Delhi
* Schools like Jose Martin school,Sector-12, R.K Puram; Janki Devi Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Mayur Vihar; Sarvodaya Kanaya Vidyalaya Mangolpuri and Jwala Puri
* WHO building has 12 KW system

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