In the midst of all the buzz around lethal effects of global warming and enormously high pollution levels, small yet powerful initiatives taken up by residential units such as installing solar panels on rooftops appears as a moment of sunshine. Six RWAs in the capital — Nizamuddin, Vasant Kunj, Saket, Kalka Garhi Village, Ashok Vihar and Shahdara — have took to producing solar power to run each of their RWA office-spaces. All the six associations have installed solar panels of 1 KW capacity, which produces enough power to run around six fans and tube lights. The move has helped bring down their monthly electricity bills by around 15% to 20%.
The RWAs affiliated to URJA (United RWAs Joint Action), an umbrella body of more than 2000 resident associations in the city, took the step in their campaign for ‘Going Green’. Two of the RWAs — Nizamuddin and Saket — have also started net metering (selling electricity to power grids), which has made it even more cost-effective for the office-bearers. Pradeep Lamba, URJA representative from Nizamuddin RWA, said, “We have installed the panels on the rooftop of our community centre from where we run our RWA office. It produces around 3-4 KWH units daily. There is a reduction of Rs 2000 -Rs 3000 in the monthly electricity bills. Further, we sell the power produced to the grid at Rs 6 per unit every month, which helps bring down the cost even more.”
Similarly, Ashok Vihar RWA has the panels installed on their two-storey senior citizen’s center. “The center remains busy with activities and social functions for senior citizens. They have a hall and a recreation room. The electricity bills to run these used to be hefty, where use of solar energy has helped bring it down,” said, Pramod Kohli, secretary, Federation of Ashok Vihar RWAs.
Only last year the Centre and the Delhi government had announced subsidies and incentives for solar rooftop installations. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced a scheme that consumers will get an incentive of Rs 2 per unit of solar energy produced from a domestic rooftop. “The 1 KW panels were installed at a cost of Rs one lakh each under the CSR activity in out tie-up with a company. Besides reducing the coost of the electricity bills for running the RWA offices, it has inspired a large number of people including both commercial units and individual households. People are inspired by the initiative and are moving towards it is our biggest achievement,” said, Atul Goyal, convener, URJA. However, he said, it will still take time to become a people’s movement, as solar installations are a costly affair. “Unless the government formulates a policy on the issue, it cannot turn into a revolution of having each domestic rooftop producing solar power. It is important to create a cost-effective model for it to be adopted on a large-scale,’ he said.