Rooftop solar will soon be mandatory in this Indian city

9 September 2014

NEW DELHI: It will soon be mandatory for all new housing and commercial buildings in the Indian city of Gurgaon to install rooftop solar panels, a move which could set a benchmark for green policies across the country.

The decision, which was taken by the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG), follows at a time when the city is grappling with acute power shortages, and against the backdrop of the Haryana state government's proposed venture to set up four new electricity substations in Gurgaon, to meet the city’s growing power demand.

Initially the rule will only apply to new buildings in Gurgaon, but the Corporation aims to bring the entire city under the same regulation eventually, according to newspaper The Times of India.

Inspired by the success of solar energy adoption in other Indian states, the MCG’s decision will lend a new dimension to solar energy utilization in India, because no potential building plan without a provision for solar panels on its rooftop, will get civic clearance.

According to Indian media, the MCG is also considering providing an annual rebate of up to 10% on property tax to building-owners, owing to the higher price range of solar panels. A roof top solar panel with a capacity between 3.5kW and 4.5kW costs around Rs.4 lakh (US$6,400).

Jarnail Singh, India Program Manager, The Climate Group, explains the city's low carbon move could be replicated across the county: "This decision should set a benchmark for green policies in the National Capital Region. I hope to see a range of innovative financial incentives that could create a successful, large scale, demand-side roll-out for such an initiative."  

Gurgaon, which is known as the satellite city to the national capital New Delhi, has seen stellar economic growth in recent years. It is home to several multinational corporations, and residential expansions are mushrooming at a rapid pace. Consequently, the city’s power demand is bursting at the seams with an estimated rise of 15-17% per year.

Current projections show Gurgaon’s energy requirement will exceed 1,900 MW by 2015, and therefore the existing set up - which is only capable of providing 1,700 MW - needs immediate improvements.

Gurgaon's new rooftop solar project should reduce dependence on non-renewable sources of energy for electricity generation, which will drive much-needed energy conservation.

The Climate Group is constantly endeavoring to deploy more solar to India through its Bijli - Clean Energy for All program. The objective of the program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy technologies by promoting innovative business models in rural India.

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By Shuvait Koul

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