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Solar Cities: Powering Urban India Through Solar Power

By Author: Nikhil Mehra
Total Articles: 33

India’s rapid urbanization and economic growth has been a key factor behind the growing demand for energy in urban areas which have resulted in an alarming increase in harmful Green House Gas emissions. With several Indian cities and towns experiencing a rapid growth in peak electricity demand, state governments and power utilities have been hard pressed to cope with the growing demand leading to power shortages.

It is in this context that the launch of the Development of Solar Cities programme assumes added significance. It is designed to support/encourage Urban Local Bodies and assist their efforts in guiding their cities in the journey to becoming ‘renewable energy cities’ or ‘solar cities’.

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has already initiated several steps in urban areas to promote the use of renewable resources. The Solar Cities initiative aims to consolidate all the efforts of the Ministry in these areas to address the energy issues of urban India in a holistic manner.

What is a Solar City?

Every Solar City will aim at minimum 10% reduction in projected demand for energy generated from conventional sources at the end of a five year period, through a combination of enhancing supply from renewable energy sources in the city and implementing energy efficiency measures.

The basic objective here is to motivate the local governments to adopt renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures. A Solar City will boast of varied types of renewable energy projects including solar, wind, biomass, small hydro and waste-to-energy among others in addition to other energy efficiency as per the available resources.  

A total of 60 cities/towns are slated for development as Solar Cities as part of the 11th Plan period. At least one city in each state to a maximum of five cities in a state may be supported by the Ministry.  

Key Objectives:

To enable and empower Urban Local Governments to address energy issues at a city level.

To provide the required support to prepare a Master Plan which will include an assessment of the current energy situation, projected demand in the future and an action plan.

To build capacity in the Urban Local Bodies and create awareness among all members of the general public.

To ensure the participation of all stakeholders in the planning process.

To oversee the execution of crucial sustainable energy options through public-private partnership projects.

Thus far in-principle approval has been given to approx 48 Cities which have met the stated selection criteria, have committed to undertake renewable energy installations, implement approved energy efficiency measures and have submitted their detailed proposals as per the prescribed format.

Thirty-one cities which have also received in-principle approvals have been given further sanctions to hire noted consultants for preparation of the master plan.  Funds amounting to about 50% of the cost of preparation for the Master Plan have also been released to each of these cities, while the Draft Master plans have been prepared for 11 cities. 

Within a short span of time, Welspun Renewables has pioneered solar power solutions that have set new industry benchmarks for their sheer size and installed capacity.

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has already initiated several steps in urban areas to promote the use of

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