Use of Diesel Generator (DG) sets increases pollution by over 30 per cent in residential societies in Gurugram, finds CSE’s new study

Calls for concerted action by state’s key implementing agencies to boost solar rooftop (SRT) power generating systems to help lower pollution levels and reduce power cuts 

  • CSE’s latest study finds over 30 per cent increase in PM2.5 and PM10 in Gurugram during DG usage - lasting up to an hour after usage
  • About 1900mg/ of PM 10 and an average of around 300 mg/ generated through the day where DG usage exceeds 7-8 hours per day
  • The city has a huge potential for solar rooftop systems – a clean and cheap alternative
  • Haryana government’s mandate requires large commercial and industrial entities (approx 6,200 in number) to install SRT – less than 5% have complied so far
  • CSE’s survey shows lack of oversight and limited resources dedicated to implementation in various government bodies hampering growth 

Gurugram, June 26, 2018: CSE released a report titled “GOING SOLAR: Action Plan to Tap Gurugram’s Solar Rooftop Potential 2018” on June 22, 2018. The report revealed that solar rooftops (SRTs) are a clean and cheaper alternative to highly polluting DG sets. Per unit cost of electricity generated by DG is Rs 35 per unit (inclusive of the cost of the DG set), while SRT costs less than Rs 6 per unit. 

Findings from another CSE research, “Pollution in residential societies from DG sets” shows that DG sets are most widely used for power back-up during electricity cuts, causing a huge spike in air pollution levels in the local surroundings. The study shows that in societies where DG sets were operated for several hours a day, PM2.5 and PM10 increased by 30% and 50-100% compared to levels before the usage of DG sets. When DG usage exceeded 8 hours, the PM levels were persistently high throughout the day – on an average PM2.5 and PM10 levels were 130 and 300; peak PM2.5 and PM10 levels were 300 and 1900 respectively. 

The meeting organized in collaboration with Gurgaon First, a non-profit based in Gurugram

was attended by officials from Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Ltd. (DHBVNL), which supplies electricity to Gurugram; HAREDA, which is responsible for implementing the solar rooftop program; and the International Solar Alliance (ISA).  Several solar developers and Residents Welfare Association (RWA) representatives were also present.

 Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, CSE said, “Diesel generator use in societies is causing an alarming increase in pollution levels with spikes of up to 15 times the safe levels. Given that SRT is a clean and economically advantageous alternative and the government itself had announced regulations to promote it, it needs to make concerted efforts to enforce its mandate and encourage installation in residential societies”. 

The report further highlighted poor compliance with a 2016 HAREDA order, which mandated the installation of SRT by large industrial, commercial and institutional consumers. However, less than 5 per cent of the 6,200 entities that were required to install rooftop solar systems have complied. CSE’s research found that most agencies such as HUDA, HSIIDC, Town and County Planning have not incorporated the rooftop mandate into their regulations. They have not even communicated the order to the consumers let alone enforce the mandate. 

The study estimates that HAREDA regulation translates into approximately 62MW of installation by the current commercial and industrial consumers. “Gurugram’s SRT potential is as high as 800MW based on Gurugram’s Master Plan. The city should target 200 MW of solar rooftop by 2022, which is achievable if solar rooftop is actively promoted to residential societies. ” said Mr Priyavrat Bhati, Programme Director, Energy, CSE.

The Programme Director of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), Mr. Rakesh Kumar agreed, “Gurugram needs to estimate total potential and set up ambitious annual and long term targets to become a solar city”. 

The study found that high upfront costs, unfamiliarity with system performance and maintenance issues are the major reason for societies’ reluctance to install rooftop systems. The study said that RESCO model, where societies contract with developers to supply rooftop-based power, could address most of these issues and suggested a number of ideas to develop the RESCO market.

Smt. Vineeta Singh, Superintending Engineer, DHBVN assured “the DISCOM is clearing net metering applications within a week; billing issues are getting resolved. But staff needs to be trained to push implementation.”
“Lack of manpower has affected coordination, monitoring and awareness building efforts” added Mr Rameshwar Singh, District Officer-HAREDA

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