In Gurugram, rooftop solar is the alternative for DG sets: says CSE

  • To control air pollution, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has declared a blanket ban on diesel generator (DG) sets in NCR. Rooftop solar offers an economical and environment-friendly alternative for residential societies in Gurugram
  • Gurugramhas tremendous solar potential -- has an installed capacity of approximately 35 MW
  • Change in Centre’s policy has altered the solar rooftop adoption process. The DHBVN – the new responsible party – is unclear on how to proceed  

Gurugram, November 28, 2019: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), at a city-level meeting organised here today in collaboration with Gurgaon First (GF), once again reiterated the importance of rooftop solar for Gurugram – especially at a time when the power-starved city’s polluting DG sets have been forced to shut down. 

Like the rest of Delhi-NCR, Gurugramhas also witnessed a sharp spike in air pollution this year, with its air quality index (AQI) alternating between the ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’categories. To control the pollution, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has introduced a host of measures under its Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for the region. One of these measures -- the ban on all diesel generator(DG) sets – can have significant consequencesfor the residents of Gurugram. 

Many of Gurugram’sresidential campuses and high rises relycompletely on DGsets tosupplement their power supply. Said Shweta Miriam Koshy, senior research associate, renewable energy programme, CSE: “The prevalent environmental crisis has renewed the interest among RWAs to adopt solar rooftop (SRT) systems. However, a lack of clarity on the process and the technology’s advantages has been holding them back. Today’s CSE-GF meeting -- the second edition of a series of awareness generation seminars – was aimed at discussing the issue.” 

Gurugramboasts of high solar radiation potential of 5.5-6.5 kWh per square meter of area for over 320 days a year. Envisioned as a solar city, Gurugram’sadvantage is backed by comprehensive regulations, initiatives and mandates. Despite this, there is only about 48.9 MW of SRT installed in the city.  

ShubhraPuriof GF pointed out that Gurugramis poised to become a solar city, aided by the Haryana government’s progressive solar policies. She said: “Solar offers double benefits -- On one hand, citizens can adopt solar as it helps reduce carbon emissions and on the other, because of the economic gains. But the authorities need to make solar installations a hassle-free process and remove delays in the operationalising of net meters.” 

Koshy, presenting results from CSE’s studies on the subject, said: “Though solar by itself does not offer an alternative for DG sets during power cuts, it does reduce Gurugram’s dependence on its 10,500-odd DG sets used for regular, everyday power supply.” “Further,” she added, “a host of facilitative measures such as net-metering, banking and financial incentives have rendered the technology economically viable and even favourable.” 

Developers and solar prosumers too came forward to point out the many benefits offered by the technology. Representatives from solar-powered RWAs -- J K Gupta from Citizen and VineetBaggafrom Wellington – drove home the point on economic benefits by pointing out the reduction in power bills. SanjeevSaxena, senior vice president, DLF Ltd, said: “We are increasingly aware of the importance of solar energy, and with every installation our confidence is growing. We have already installed 40kW and are in the process of installing another 120kW.” 

Under the Centre’s most recent policy -- ‘Phase II-Grid Connected Solar Rooftop’ -- the responsibility for both installation and subsidy disbursal has been transferred to the distribution utility. Gaurav Dahiya, sub-divisional officer, DHBVN, said: “We will do everything in our power to fast-track the process. We have streamlined our activities and are picking up pace, with urgency.” 

Rameshwar Singh,programme coordinator at Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA)was present to explain the details of the various government schemes. Though no longer the intermediary, he said, “HAREDA will continue working towards increasing solar adoption in Haryana. It is developing a strategy to increase solar energy in Gurugram, looking to draw as much as 20 per cent of its energy from the clean technology. “However,” he added, “this will not be enough. Of the innumerable RWAs in Gurugram, not more than 10 have approached HAREDA for solar adoption.”

For more on this, please contact Sukanya Nair of The CSE Media Resource Centre, / 8816818864.