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Going Unconventional: Need of Present and Inevitability for Delhi

Jyoti Katiyar | 23rd July | IIC



Inaugration of the Greenpeace report, “Rooftop revolution: Unleashing Delhi’s solar potential” by former Chief Justice Delhi High Court- Ajit Prakash Shah

With the background that conventional energy sources are being depleting ceaselessly and unconventional sources are becoming dearer Greenpeace came up with an astonishing report, ‘Rooftop Revolution: Unleashing Delhi’s Solar Potential’ which provides a platform to pump in solar energy in the National Capital.

The growing electricity demand in the capital hitting as high as 5,642 MW in 2012 backed by current capacity 1,345 MW (5% unconventional sources, 55% coal and 45%) in the background where Delhi has a potential to generate 2 GW through solar power by 2020 could be green and to some extent cost efficient solution to the demand-supply gap. “If we go by holistic approach where the landscape of power supply could be changed according to the need, access to 360 days of sun, affordability of solar technology, coupled with high rates of diesel-generated power we can go more ambitious than world leading cities in solar installation such as Berlin (98 MW), New York (14 MW), San Francisco (23 MW)” said Dr. Tobais Engelmeir, Managing Director of Bridge to India that has co-authored the report.

Theoretically, Delhi’s territory of 1483 km could support 123 GW of solar PV. therefore, 2GW requires 1.6% of the city’s land. Considering the current populations of the city and immigrants every day from rural areas make Delhi a land scarce city left us the option of venturing rooftop where 31 sq km is available for rooftop projects with a potential for generating 2,557 MW said Dr. Engelmeir.

Delhi has a renewable purchase option (RPO) of 0.20% for 2013-2011which implies that Delhi has to meet 0.2% of its demand through renewable energy which would reach to 0.35% by 2016-17. The obligation seems very low to the environmentalists against the Delhi’s shining potential.

The Delhi Government’s initiative of promoting rooftop solar power in 2011 was deferred due to expensive production against energy produced by conventional sources. But solar revolution which started a year and a half back has already halved the prices of solar installation. Trend of rising electricity tariffs when coupled with expectation of solar prices declining at the rate of 5-8 per cent in long run makes going solar a viable, potential and sustainable source of energy.

To bridge demand supply gap, 58% of the shortfall is met by purchasing power through long term agreements with power generators in the other states. With increasing demand and dependence on other states leaves the future supply of Delhi electricity requirement uncertain. Delhi needs to have policies to promote solar power in addition to the only incentive of 30% subsidy on the cost of solar system or a cheap loan available today.