According to reports, Surat could well become the first city in India to make solar water heating in all buildings, residential and commercial, mandatory.
Earlier, this year, the Union urban development ministry had made it mandatory that civic bodies of all 58 cities identified to be made “solar cities” change their construction bylaws to make solar energy compulsory for water heating systems.
The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) will make the necessary changes in the bylaws of construction within a month. There are 10.2 lakh houses and nearly 65,000 commercial buildings in the city, which will have to switch over to solar water heating.
“We are ready with draft master plan with a detailed mechanism for solar water heating,” said Jatin Shah, city engineer SMC.
However, solar water heating is just one of the steps being taken to make Surat a ‘solar city’. The civic body plans to undertake photovoltaic roof top programme, installing solar panels atop all its vital installations and replacing regular street lights with CFLs and tube lights with T5 lights.
“We are aiming to bring down the conventional energy usage by at 10-15 per cent in the next two years,” he added. In the next five years, it aims to use at least 30 per cent solar power in place of electricity.
SMC has also scheduled a meeting with Pune-based World Institute of Sustainable energy (WISE), which was appointed as consultant in advisory capacity by the Centre, to chalk out the implementation plan for solar water heating systems.
Dr Omkar Jani, principal research scientist at Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI ) said, “We will replicate the Gandhinagar’s solar city model in Surat too.”