GURUGRAM: The Haryana government is going to make it mandatory for all public buildings, like schools, health centres, offices etc., to have rooftop solar panels as part of a state-wide project that will be first implemented in Gurugram and Faridabad.
PK Mahapatra, additional chief secretary, new and renewable energy department, Haryana, made the announcement on Saturday, days after a WHO report listed Gurugram as the 11th most polluted city in the world. And one of the main culprits behind the city’s high pollution levels is diesel gensets that are used as backup at a large number of residential societies, government offices and commercial complexes.
“I had a meeting with the secretary (new and renewable energy) on Friday. We were discussing how we could take this (green energy initiative) further. And I suggested that we must start with Gurugram and Faridabad, the two prominent cities in the state,” said Mahapatra, who was in the city in the day to attend an event organised by NGO Gurugram First.
Mahapatra said the government wanted every public office to have its own solar power generation system, and would ensure “solarisation” of the entire state in a phased manner. Tangible change would be visible in that direction in next six months. “We are working on modalities as to how we should go about it in schools, anganwadis and offices, among others. We also want to make budgetary provisions (for the renewable energy projects), but that will take time,” he added.
In Gurugram, the installed capacity of solar power reached 25MW earlier this year — far less than what is required (a peak demand of 1,600MW on a summer day) — almost four years after the government made it mandatory for every new home with an area up to 500 square yard or more to install solar panels.
The Haryana government in September 2014 had announced a grid-connected solar rooftop policy and made it mandatory for every new home across the state with an area up to 500 square yard or more to install a solar power system. The policy was all applicable for commercial and industrial consumers, besides hospitals, malls and hotels.
In 2016, the Haryana government had allowed all property owners to install grid-connected rooftop solar power plants of capacity ranging from 1KW to 1 MW under net-metering regulations in the state and had also allowed sale of power either to the government or third party from such plants. Under the HAREDA guidelines, consumers in the domestic category receive incentive of Re 1 per unit while industrial consumers get 25 paisa per unit of power added to the grid.
In another initiative, the government offers subsidies to consumers who purchase solar panels and other equipment from affiliated sellers. But, several residents complained that the department wasn’t releasing subsidies.
Mahapatra on Saturday maintained that buyers of solar rooftop panels would eventually get the subsidies, even if late.
To help residents procure rooftop panels, Gurugram First has launched a help desk. “Officials from RWAs can write to firstname.lastname@example.org with specific queries relating to installation of solar panels. A panel of independent experts has been selected to assist residents,” said Shubhra Puri, founder, Gurugram First.