Solar energy a possible solution to Gurgaon’s power woes
As of 2011, Gurgaon had a population of about 9 lakh, witnessing rapid urbanisation. The city has emerged as a leading financial and industrial hub, with the third-highest per capita income in India.
Based on its growth, Gurgaon’s demand for electricity has increased and the government has taken certain steps to fulfill its required demand. Its demand for electricity has been increasing annually by 10% and figures from the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam reveal that there is a 25% shortage in power supply, which has led to 10 to 12 hours of power outages in certain pockets.
These outages become a regular phenomenon during summers. Further, the city’s 2014 Draft Master Plan shows that a substantial amount of power is consumed by the industrial sector, while overall demand has increased by 55% since 2005 in all sectors. The demand for electricity to meet the city’s infrastructure including streetlights, motors and water pumps is also rising.
To overcome the city’s dependency on diesel generators, which severely increases air pollution, and to tackle the continuous shortage of electricity, there is a need to push solar energy as a viable solution. As per the Indian Institute of Sustainable Development, Gurgaon currently generates 17 MW of power through existing solar rooftops and is targeting another 11 MW. However, there is immense potential to top solar energy as the state receives highintensity solar radiation for more than 320 days in a year.
The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy is geared towards promoting renewable energy and has already incentivised wind, solar, small hydro power and bio-energy through various schemes. Among its most prominent schemes is the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which aims to add 20 gigawatts of solar power in the country by 2022.
The ministry has selected Gurgaon as one of the cities for undertaking massive rooftops solar programmes. The Haryana Renewable Energy Department has made the installation of solar panels mandatory for all buildings meeting certain size requirements.
The minimum capacity to be installed is 1kW or 5% of a building’s connected load, whichever is higher. The practice of net metering can be actively promoted in the city, in which a person can supply surplus electricity generated from solar energy to the power corporation. Suppose an institution’s per-day generation of electricity through solar panels is 10 kW and it needs only 6 kW, it can sell the excess to the state utility and earn revenue.
Modern lighting systems, which are not only energy efficient but also lead to savings in the long run, should be encouraged in community areas like parks. The green building and complex concept can be adopted to save power for under-construction buildings.
The key measures required for switching to alternative energy include setting of energy performance targets in buildings and ensuring that renewable energy meets a greater share of the city’s electricity demand. Also, since the government is actively promoting solar energy, resident welfare associations should take the lead in leveraging it effectively to meet the electricity needs of their localities.
Companies should come forward to promote solar energy as part of their CSR initiatives. Solar energy can be regarded as the most appropriate solution for resolving Gurgaon’s power woes as it has immense potential not only to tackle the crisis but also to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and lead to a reduction in burgeoning power bills.