Chandigarh: After UT electricity department started giving gross-meter connections, Chandigarh Renewal Energy, Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST) has started the process of installing solar power plants. CREST is going to install rooftop solar power plants (SPV) of total capacity of 2350 kilowatt peak (kWp) at two different locations. The society intends to install an SPV of 1250 kWp at Sector 32 water works at estimated cost of Rs 7.82 crore, while 1100 kWp plant will be installed at Sector 37 water works at a cost of Rs 6.91 crore. CREST has already floated tenders for hiring a firm for installing the solar power plant. Earlier, UT electricity department had taken a stand not to issue no-objection certificates (NOC) for gross-meter solar power connections and was at the logger heads with the CREST over the issue. The department had also turned down around 15 applications moved by residents for installing solar-power plants of capacity between 300 and 500 kilowatt on gross metering.
The stand-off between electricity department and CREST has delayed solar projects of around 6 megawatt capacity. It was only after UT adviser Parimal Rai intervened, the power department resumed giving the connections. Net metering is an agreement that allows a consumer to sell excess solar energy to the utility, while in gross metering total solar power generated is exported to grid. Chandigarh has been selected by the central government to be developed as a ‘model solar city’ and has set an ambitious target of generating 50MW of solar energy -both residential and government- by 2022. CREST is struggling due to shortage of space in the city, which is spread in an area of just 114sqkm. The society has done well by installing solar plants in 159 government buildings. The response from private sectors has not been impressive so far despite various initiatives taken by the administration. On a request by CREST, JERC enhanced cumulative capacity to 50% of the distribution capacity of a transformer, which was earlier restricted to 30%. Last year, CREST had also framed building bylaws making installation of solar power plant on new private buildings mandatory.
In the past three years, CREST has generated 20.36 million units (MU), equivalent to reduction of 1,410 metric tonne of CO2 and planting a total of 15.3 lakh trees. Of 20.36 MU, bulk of power has been produced by plants on government buildings.