Chandigarh invites private players in solar power sector

Officials inspect a 210-kWp rooftop solar power plant in Chandigarh on Wednesday.— Photo: Akhilesh Kumar  

Declared a Model Solar City in 2013, Chandigarh on Wednesday moved a step closer towards accomplishing the goal of using solar energy for powering its growth when a 210 kWp Grid-tied Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant was inaugurated at the postgraduate government college.

Speaking at the inauguration Kirronn Kher, MP, said the Narendra Modi government has set an ambitious target of installing Rooftop Solar Power Plants for generating 1 lakh MW in the next five years. “Though it is a huge task, our government is committed in achieving it by providing various incentives and inviting private sector investment in this solar sector,” she said.

The Centre was also planning to develop Chandigarh as one of the smart city of the country and would thus strive to improve its footprint in the field of renewable energy, she said.

The project inaugurated on Wednesday was executed by Chandigarh Renewal Energy, Science and Technology Promotion Society through a Delhi-based contracting firm at a cost of Rs. 2.27 crore and the plant was designed to generate around 2.72 lakh units of electricity per year.

Talking to The Hindu , Vijay Dev, Adviser to Administrator of Chandigarh, said through the State intervention so far solar power plant of 5 MW have been set up. “We are ranked the number one city in the country in State intervention models and our immediate goal is to set up solar plants to generate another 5 MW soon.”

Mr. Dev said the major emphasis now was on roping in the private sector in solar power generation. “In the private intervention area, Chandigarh ranks third in the country. But with a new power purchase price of Rs. 9.43 per unit having been determined, there would be greater incentive for the private players to get into solar power generation. An awareness and motivation campaign would also be launched to elicit their support.”

It was in 2009 that the proposal to make Chandigarh a model solar city was initiated by The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) which also prepared a detailed project report and a master plan for it.

To exploit solar power to the hilt, TERI had proposed setting up of 10 MW solar PV roof top power plants; a 25 MW solar PV power plant in Patiyala ki Rao area of Chandigarh; solar PV plants in municipal landfill site, gardens, lake areas and car parking sheds; and installation of solar PV based LED street lights. It also recommended use of solar energy for powering water heaters in residential and commercial buildings to reduce the energy needs by 20 per cent.

To showcase advantage of rooftop solar PV system it was recommended to first implement the demonstration projects in government offices and institutions buildings like Model Central Jail, Town Hall, General Hospital, and UT Municipal Corporation Building.

While the project has been slow to take off, parts of it have been implemented. These include the rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Power Plants at Paryavaran Bhawan and at the Model Jail.