Bengaluru solar rooftop mapping tool goes live

File photo of a solar mapping LIDAR flight   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

After a series of delays, the ambitious project - touted to be the first of its kind in India - to assess Bengaluru’s rooftop potential to harness solar energy finally took off on Wednesday.

CREST - STEP’s Rooftop Evaluation of Solar Tool (CREST), was launched virtually, enabling consumers to assess their rooftop’s potential to generate solar energy for their own consumption, as well as to supply additional power generated to the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) grid.

Mahendra Jain, Additional Chief Secretary, Energy Department, Karnataka said the State is already a leader in renewable energy with 63% energy coming from renewable sources, including solar and hydel. “The world’s largest solar park is located in Pavagada, which is fully functional. Although we have achieved such stupendous success, in the matter of solar rooftop we have been below the mark. Once generation and consumption are localised, there is greater scope for storage and it becomes viable at a solar rooftop level,” he said.

He admitted that Bengaluru was still “woefully behind the target” in solar rooftop generation. “Why we have not achieved our potential despite solar radiation scope is because of inhibitions about the high cost, lack of information whether the particular rooftop is technically and commercially viable, and also because people are at a loss as to who to approach,” he said.

The LIDAR-based project, he said, maps the minutest detail of the rooftop, including how much it would cost. “It will help us in accelerating the rooftop plan. We will be able to resolve a lot of problems in power supply. Renewable has problems of unpredictability, and evacuation of solar power in a large plant becomes problematic. It took a long time in Pavagada too and was capital intensive. In a rooftop, generation and consumption are localised, and so it is advantageous. If you pair renewable and storage, the day is not far when we can do away with thermal energy completely. If any State can dream of becoming a thermal-free State, it has to be Karnataka,” he said, adding that the KERC too has allowed third party investment in solar rooftops.

G. Sheela, General Manager, Demand Side Management, Bescom, said though the target set by the Karnataka Solar policy is to achieve 2400 MW by 2022, with Bescom's target being 1200 MW, only 140 MW has been commissioned so far.

Saptak Ghosh, Research Scientist, CSTEP, said the CREST project has covered 1076 sq km and estimated that 2.8 GW is the actual realisable potential in Bengaluru.

Bescom Managing Director M.B. Rajesh Gowda said with rooftop generation picking up, it will be a win-win situation for Bescom and consumers, as transmission costs will also come down.


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 10:54:59 PM |

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