More than a year after the Haryana government made installation of solar power system mandatory on rooftops of buildings constructed over 500 sq yards, there seems to be hardly any takers for the policy — at least in Gurgaon. Only four government buildings in the district have solar panels, a response to an RTI query has revealed. Last year, the Manohar Lal Khattar government replaced the Haryana Solar Power Policy-2014 with the Haryana Solar Power Policy-2016 and set an ambitious target of generating 1,600MW power through rooftop solar plants by 2021-22. But the RTI reply says that only four government buildings — Government Model School, Sushant Lok, Sector 43; ADC (additional deputy commissioner) office, Vikas Sadan; ITI-Sohna on Delhi-Alwar road bypass; and Rajiv Gandhi Renewable Energy (RGRE) Park in Sector 29 — have installed solar power system on their rooftops so far.
“The RTI response clearly reveals that nothing has been done on the ground to start implementation of the policy. Not just funding, no meetings have taken place yet. It is unfortunate that the government itself has not executed any major solar panel installation project,” said Aseem Takyar, the activist who filed the RTI application.Moreover, sources said the ADC’s office does not have data on how many 500 sq yard plots exist in the city. Several malls, commercial complexes, offices, factories, schools, and colleges fall in this category. When contacted, ADC Vinay Pratap, who is the implementation officer for the government’s mandatory solar power programme in the district, said, “It’s true that not many government buildings have installed the solar panels as tendering by HAREDA (Haryana Renewable Energy Department) for installation of panels on government buildings, has been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana high court.”
“As far as implementation of the policy in private buildings is concerned, all agencies that grant approval for buildings have been instructed to make it mandatory to have provision for installation of solar panels,” he added. Experts, however, said that rising heat could have helped the city generate enough solar power. “Summer is the best time to utilise solar energy. In a city like Gurgaon, there is a great potential for harnessing solar energy. However, there is a need to spread awareness among people and authorities must offer them solar panels at subsidised rates,” said Shubhra Puri, solar power expert and founder of Gurgaon First, a citizen initiative working in the area of renewable energy.