Western Railway move can promote solar energy in Mumbai: Experts
Even as experts on solar power cheered the move by Western Railways of going for solar rooftops by setting up solar panels on top of the platform sheds, they also said that this move could also end up becoming the biggest promotion for solar rooftops in Mumbai.
“The solar rooftops at Lower Parel station are being viewed by lakhs of commuters daily and it will atleast provoke them to think or get more information about solar energy. Infact we would suggest that every station going for solar rooftop should display information on benefits of solar power,” said a senior official working with Government of India to promote solar rooftops.
Infact officials as well as environmentalists who have been promoting solar energy said that despite so much awareness and having the facility of Net-metering’ ,which enables to send the unused or excess electricity generated by solar plant back into the grid of the energy supply and even earn credits still there was not much demand for solar rooftops and only very limited buildings or societies were coming forward.
“There will have to be a policy making it mandatory for a building or a commercial space of a particular area and depending on their electricity usage pattern to compulsorily have solar rooftop installed and only then the rise in solar rooftops will see an increase,” said another solar expert working with a solar energy provider firm.
Infact environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal who has been promoting solar rooftops said that it was strange that while Mumbaikars actively speak about reducing carbon footprints and search for means of reducing their electricity consumption yet there was not a sharp rise as expected in solar rooftops in the city. “BMC or the The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) needs to study what was the factor that was stopping people from going for solar rooftops
A study initiated in 2015 to assess the solar rooftop potential of Greater Mumbai had shown that Mumbai has a potential of generating 1720 megawatt (MW) of solar energy across rooftops including residences, educational institutions, government buildings and industry. Infact one of the key highlights of the study was that it provided a ready database of the solar capacity that can be generated on rooftops to BMC or any other Government organisation. The study listed out structures with good rooftop potential and it includes hospitals, commercial buildings, Government offices, railway stations and even industries. The rooftop solar generation was also presented wardwise.
Unfortunately experts claim that BMC and government offices themselves are yet to go for solar rooftops despite being obligated to do so and those who have already done it were not bothered promoting it amongst those visiting these offices.
WHAT IS NET-METERING:
Under net-metering, customers who generate their own electricity using solar power can send the unused or excess electricity generated by their solar plant, back into the grid of the energy supply provider and even get compensated for it. However the compensation is not directally monetary but the energy provider simply reduces the units of power send to the grid, which helps reduce the energy costs.
Net-metering was approved by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) in 2016