CHENNAI: Chennai can become the clean energy champion as the total rooftop solar potential of the city is 1.38 Gigawatt, according to a study conducted by Greenpeace and Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI).The report Rooftop Revolution: Unleashing Chennai’s Rooftop Potential, which was released on Tuesday, states that if the total rooftop solar potential of city is realised, it will help the city reduce the power demand by about 10 per cent.
The study jointly undertaken by Greenpeace India and GERMI scanned the area under Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and estimated that an average of 3.15 MW per sqkm can easily be generated by installing rooftop solar panels. A big share of this, nearly 46 per cent, can come from the residential sector.
The report says that the deployment of rooftop solar panels is lack lustre despite existing policies and regulations that support rooftop solar.
“If deployment rates do not significantly increase, it is unlikely that India’s rooftop solar target of 40GW by 2022 will be met. Chennai, by virtue of being a Tier-I city is representative of most locations in India from where most demand of rooftop solar is likely to arise,” the report said.Currently, the ‘Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Solar Power Plants Programme’ that encourages installation of solar rooftop systems across the country has a few takers in the city.
The move by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to bring change in development regulations under Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act to make it mandatory for all multi-storied buildings to harness grid connected solar energy, is yet to be implemented.The per capita consumption of power in the State is growing due to rapid urbanisation and the measure could reduce the dependence on thermal power stations.
However, despite the State offering subsidies and focusing on net metering to encourage rooftop solar plants, people still lack awareness, says Pujarini Sen, renewable energy campaigner, Greenpeace India.
Interestingly, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has proposed to scale up Grid Connected Solar Power targets from 20,000 MW to 1,00,000 MW by 2022. The target includes 40,000 MW roof-top solar photovoltaics and 57,000 MW large solar projects.
The report by Greenpeace says that railway station roofs of the city can hold 3,852 kw of solar power while metro stations can hold 1,696kw. Similarly, bus depot roofs and Chennai International Airport can host 938 kw of solar power and 889 kw of solar power respectively.D Suresh, director of Zwende, who has installed a solar panel at his home, said people should avoid net metering and batteries and install solar panels to cut down power consumption.