According to reports, affordability of solar technology , coupled with high rates of diesel-generated power, has again revived the possibility of the Delhi government promoting renewable energy.
A report by Greenpeace India and Bridge to India says Delhi has the potential to generate 2,557MW of solar power using only 1.6% of the city’s roof space.
The Delhi government had conceptualized a project to promote rooftop solar power in 2011 but it was shelved as the power produced would have been expensive compared to that generated through conventional sources. “Setting up solar rooftop at houses is complex and needs fiscal support. But, the high tariff of grid electricity and cheaper solar installations make it a potential and sustainable energy source.
In 2012, Delhi’s tariff increased by about 20% and might rise by 25% in another five years, while solar prices have almost halved in the past two years,” said Anand Prabhu Pathanjali, energy campaigner, Greenpeace India.
By achieving the 2 gigawatt potential , the city can meet 16% of its needs. Delhi has a renewable purchase obligation (RPO) of 0.2% for 2013-14—it has to meet 0.2% of the demand through renewable energy.
By 2016-17 , the RPO will touch 0.35%. Presuming that discoms will sell 25 million kW in 2013-14 , there is a need for 50,000kW of solar energy, necessitating 35.5MW of installed capacity.
Delhi has an installed capacity of 2.5MW, while it has a total area of 1,483 sq km with 700 sq km of built-up space. Only 31 sq km is available for rooftop projects with a potential for generating 2,557MW solar power. The maximum potential for rooftop power lies with residential buildings, contributing 49% of the total share, followed by industrial buildings with a 15% share, government buildings at 13%, commercial buildings 10%, and semi-public buildings pitching another 13%.
Against its highest peak demand of 5,642MW in 2012, Delhi produces only 1,345MW—55 % is coal-based . Localized renewable generation can reduce the shortfall. While the demand has risen, Delhi’s generation capacity has not kept up. Its demand might cross 11,000MW in a few years but the only additions likely in terms of generation are a 1,370MW gas based plant and a 94.8MW coal plant. Land is costly and unavailable for large conventional power plants, said the report. Delhi does not have a policy to promote solar power and the only incentive is a 30% subsidy on the cost of a solar system or a cheap loan.