According to reports, the world may be going solar but the capital isn’t designed to harness the sun’s energy optimally. That’s the crux of an environment department report on the lessons Delhi can learn from Gujarat’s solar power projects.
The report that will be submitted to the LG soon says Delhi can replicate Gandhinagar’s “rent a roof” model, but it will be limited to government buildings like offices, schools and hospitals as most private properties are not suitably aligned or are haphazardly built.
Although the capital’s solar power potential has not been assessed yet, a senior official from the department said, “Delhi is very different from other cities. The buildings are of uneven height. There are unauthorized colonies and various constructions on roofs”. As a result, the rooftop area available for solar generation in Delhi may be much less than that in Gandhinagar, which is a planned city with buildings of similar height and size. “We have to assess the potential with bidders for this project. First, let’s find out how much roof space is available,” the officer said.
Solar panels work best on south-facing buildings, so initially, the project will be confined to government buildings that meet this requirement. Also, large-scale projects like solar parks that Gujarat has implemented will not be feasible here because of the space crunch. “We have prepared a report only on the Gandhinagar rooftop project,” said the official.
The project is likely to use a ‘gross metering’ system-one in which all the power generated goes to the grid, as opposed to the ‘net metering’ system in which the producer uses some of the power and transfers the surplus to the grid. Rooftop owners will be compensated according to the Gandhinagar model. “If the cost of solar power is Rs 12 per unit, the property owner will get Rs 3 per unit.”
Delhi’s solar policy is still at a draft stage as power regulator DERC has not finalized metering guidelines. No timelines have been set for the project. “We will know how much time the project will take after bidding starts,” said the official.
Delhi’s draft solar policy promotes a “production-based subsidy” under which the government pays the producer for the units of conventional energy saved by using renewable energy.