Solar is the most accessible form of renewable energy across India, with over 300 sunny days every year. The potential for solar energy generation, especially given India’s conducive geographical position, is incredible.
Reports from the last week suggest that Diu has become the first Union Territory in India to be 100 per cent solar powered. In just three years, 13 MW of solar power capacity was installed – nearly double of the area’s peak power demand. The territory’s 22,000 residents are enjoying the economic advantages of this development – and are also hoping that it would make them a better candidate for India’s Smart Cities Mission.
India’s urban renewal project is selecting 100 cities across India for the redevelopment of their entire urban ecosystem, creating improved institutional, physical, social, and economic infrastructure. An integral part of this initiative lies in the opportunity to reimagine and transform how India’s cities are run. The development and deployment of renewable energy capacity in India’s urban cities is, therefore, of critical importance.
Solar power and India’s Smart Cities Mission
Reliable energy supply will be essential to create the multiple information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions that are expected to manage and optimize the infrastructure in smart cities. The goal of smart cities – improving the quality of life for urban dwellers using informatics and technology to improve the efficiency of services – will be unmet without substantial focus on renewable sources of energy.
Solar is the most accessible form of renewable energy across India, with over 300 sunny days every year. The potential for solar energy generation, especially given India’s conducive geographical position, is incredible. For comparison, California – 1/8th the size of India – consumes nearly 3 Quadrillion BTUs annually, and met 49.95 per cent of this demand purely through solar energy in the early part of March this year. California is less conducive geographically to the production of solar energy than India is, due to India’s favorable latitudes that place it firmly astride the Tropic of Cancer.
At the recent inaugural ISA summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of achieving 100 GW (gigawatt) of solar power by 2022, out of the total 175 GW the country plans to produce from renewable sources. With peak electricity demand in India rising each year and a substantial proportion of its population still awaiting reliable access to energy, smarter and more livable cities must articulate strategies for efficient power generation.
The sunny future of India’s Smart Cities and solar power
Indian Government’s guidelines for Smart Cities require that at least 10 per cent of the city’s energy requirement should be met by solar power. As the development of India’s renewed smart cities speeds up, so will their energy requirement – and, consequently, the development of solar power capacity in these cities, also.
As long as the Government keeps and upholds the guideline and dynamically supports private and public initiatives in the realm of solar energy, there is no reason why all of India’s smart cities cannot be like Diu. The country’s new urban landscapes are looking to be driven by the power of the sun.
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