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Sun shines bright on Guwahati

According to reports, the Union ministry of new and renewable energy has approved a Rs 1028.47-crore masterplan submitted to it by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) to make Guwahati a solar city.

The solar city project masterplan, which was submitted in September 2011, was approved by the ministry recently, a senior GMC official said. “With approval of the plan, the corporation will initiate the next course of action,” he added.

The project aims at minimum 10 per cent reduction in projected demand of conventional energy at the end of five years, through a combination of enhancing supply from renewable energy sources in the city and energy efficiency measures.

In a solar city, all types of renewable energy based projects like solar, wind, biomass, small hydro and waste may be installed along with possible energy efficiency measures depending on the need and resource availability in the city.

Under this plan, subsidy will be provided to individuals and government or non-government establishments interested in using solar-powered appliances such as water heaters, cookers, home lighting systems, hoardings, traffic lights and road markings.

The total proposed budgeted expenditure for the plan is Rs 1028.47 crore, of which 33.99 per cent will be contributed by the ministry, 41.89 per cent by the state and 24.12 per cent by the users.

According to the masterplan, the total connected load of the city was around 637MW in 2009-10 with a peak electricity demand of around 151MW.

According to the records of the Assam State Electricity Board, the major categories of electricity consumers are domestic, commercial and industrial.

“The domestic sector of the city is the major consumer and utilised 39.93 per cent of the total consumption of the city in 2009-10, followed by the commercial sector at 25.15 per cent share,” the masterplan said.

The official said for implementation of the project an empowered committee will be set up, which may work in co-ordination with the solar city cell under the chairmanship of Guwahati municipal commissioner.

Guwahati was one of the 60 cities that was proposed to be supported for development as solar cities by the ministry.

According to experts, the battery of a solar system can be charged even if there is little light and strong sunshine is not necessary. The technology is such that a battery, once charged for four hours, can be used for at least three days without charging.

A 1kW battery-operated solar power plant costs around Rs 2.7 lakh in the market. A home lighting system with two lights and a 40W panel costs about Rs 12,000.

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