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After Chandigarh administration fails to implement solar projects, locals harness energy

According to reports, despite the Government of India’s declaration of Chandigarh to be a solar city, one among the four in north India, very little has been initiated by the local authorities to implement its plans. In spite lackadaisical approach by authorities, people at individual level are making initiatives to harness solar energy to yield its benefits.

P D Mongia, a city-based businessman said “I have been using a solar heater for the past ten years. I bought it at a subsidy of 50 percent. Even though the initial cost was high, its long term benefits outweigh them. I use the system at home and also at my hotel. The solar water heating system caters to 27 rooms and a kitchen. It is highly cost effective and brings down the usual cost. During summer, our energy units consumed for water heating purposes is minimal making it a very convenient source with low maintenance.”

Bhupinder Kumar, a city resident and businessman, said, “I have installed a solar water heating system, solar cooker and solar inverter in my house. Using solar products is extremely cost effective. The solar cooker helps in saving costs on gas cylinder and the water heating system brings down our electricity usage by a major scale. The solar inverter stores solar energy in  batteries and is capable of running the entire house during a power cut at no cost.”

Stating that solar systems are highly durable and come with advantages, Devender Kaushal, director of Intersolar System, a manufacturer of solar equipments said, “Our most popular selling item is the solar water heating system. Due to the 55 percent subsidy on it, the initial cost comes down by a great margin making it a cost effective source of yielding solar energy. Initially its demand was from only the commercial sector like hotels, but now its demand has increased among city residents as well. People are shifting towards solar equipments because its initial investment is cut down due to increase in subsidy and also because its a one time investment. It is highly durable and can last for more than 20 years with low maintenance.”

The Punjab Energy Development Authority (PEDA) has plans of reducing conventional power, with the support of solar systems in the next decade. Jaspal Singh, a senior manager at PEDA stated, “In Punjab, Mohali is declared a solar city. We will soon implement the master plan designed which will aim at reducing 10 percent of conventional power by the end of 2020.We will also introduce the Green Building concept and make efforts to encourage use of water heating system, solar cooking range and solar inverters. Residents will be urged to use star rating air conditioners and refrigerators that are environment friendly. We have also made it mandatory for hotels and houses bigger than 500 yards in urban areas to install a solar water heating system.”

Santosh Kumar, Director of Science and Technology and Environment in UT Administration said, “Chandigarh being declared one of the four solar model cities by the Centre, variety of steps are undertaken to achieve the goals mentioned in the master plan. We are setting a solar photo voltage power plant that will aim to produce one megawatt solar energy per year. Our aim is to produce 10 megawatts of solar energy in the next ten years. The power plant will convert the solar energy to electrical energy that will aid in catering to the increasing energy demands of our city. Apart from this, six projects regarding solar production in the city have been sanctioned by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Three of these have been issued and are being installed.”

“Any building more than one kanal must have a solar water heating system with a 100-litre-per day capacity. The government is also giving a 30 percent subsidy on all solar products and the UT is giving an additional 25 percent subsidy on purchase of solar water heating system,” Kumar added.

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