Solar Cities project aims at supporting urban local bodies to utilise renewable energy to reduce energy consumption.
Kochi is taking the first step towards its journey to become a solar city under a programme of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Kochi Corporation has initiated measures to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) on the scheme.
The services of ICLEI , an international agency involved in supporting local governments to identify solutions to governance including energy management, will be engaged for making the DPR, K.J. Sohan, Standing Committee Chairman, Town Planning, told The Hindu. He said the agency had been involved in similar projects in other cities. A solar city cell has already been constituted as required under the MNRE scheme, he said. The Kochi Mayor was not available for comments.
The scheme was floated about two years ago and several cities had already been enrolled. Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram were in the MNRE’s list of 48 cities which were given in-principle approval out of 60 cities chosen initially. A top official of ANERT (Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology), the nodal agency for MNRE in Kerala, said the Thiruvananthapuram corporation authorities had not shown much interest in the scheme. Kochi was not given a place in the first stage of MNRE scheme, in which 31 cities were given sanction. The city is being considered in the second phase, according to Mr.Sohan.
The programme to develop Solar Cities is aimed at providing support to urban local bodies to utilise renewable energy with a view to reduce overall energy consumption. The project targets 10 per cent reduction in the use of conventional energy within five years through a holistic approach of adopting energy efficient measures and supply of more renewable energy. The programme envisages promotion of solar water heating systems in domestic and commercial buildings; deployment of solar photovoltaic systems for demonstration; establishment of shops for sale of solar energy products; use of urban and industrial waste management for energy generation. Making a framework to prepare a master plan on future energy demand, involving various stakeholders in the planning process, is part of the programme. A total of 60 cities or towns were selected initially to implement the programme.
Aid under the programme includes a sum upto Rs.10 lakh for preparation of a master plan along with detailed project report; upto Rs. 10 lakh for setting up of Solar City Cell and it’s functioning for a period of three years; upto Rs.10 lakh for overseeing of implementation during these three years; upto Rs. 20 lakh for capacity building and other promotional activities to be utilized in three years.