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Centre ramps up efforts to set up one solar city in every state, UT

Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020
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The Central government has asked all states and the Union Territories (UTs) to identify one city each out of a national list of 60 cities, whose entire electricity need will be met through rooftop solar power.

This will give a boost to the Centre’s plan for green energy and also help create demand for a solar equipment manufacturing ecosystem for ingots, wafers, cells and modules.

The government of Uttar Pradesh had identified Prayagraj to be one of these marquee solar cities, as part of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) ‘Development of Solar City Programme’.

A total of 60 such solar cities were identified across India in consultation with state governments, that also included five model cities and 13 pilot cities, for which states were given financial assistance to prepare a master plan.

The master plan includes projection of energy demand for the next 10 years, renewable energy addition, increased use of energy-efficient electrical equipment, awareness generation and setting up of solar city cell.

Going forward, a senior district or electricity distribution company (discom) officials will be nominated for each solar city wherein rooftops may also be leveraged for commercial, industrial, institutional and government sector.

Also, off-grid solar applications such as street lights and large ground mounted solar plants may be constructed on public land through Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) model involving no capital expenditure.

Under RESCO model, a firm such as state-owned Energy Efficiency Services (EESL) makes the entire upfront investment. Given the revenue model, it gets paid from the savings accrued on account of saving energy costs.

The Union government is also exploring a plan whether an entire city’ mass transportation system such as buses can be run on hydrogen and use battery storage, provided the per km cost of operations is equal to or less than conventional fuel sources such as diesel.

According to the proposed plan, two such cities’ transportation system will be bid out to run on a pilot basis using clean energy sources, hydrogen and battery storage respectively.

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