How about simple terrace solar parks in residential areas?

The government offers subsidy for using solar power but, at the moment, the investment costs are high and these deter owners in residential areas from taking the risk


A workshop on "Energy Secure Outlook for India” organised by both the Planning Commission and the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) was held recently. According to Rajnath Ram, joint adviser, Planning Commission, who attended this workshop, and met the

press on the sidelines, mentioned about the basic details of the plans to set up solar parks.


The proposal is to set up 25 solar parks, estimated to cost Rs4,000 crore, in a span of five years which may be able to produce 20,000 MW of solar power. At the present moment, only 1,760 MW is produced in the country in this manner.


Initially, these solar parks will be set up in Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir and will be spread over in a total area of 90,000 acres. The energy thus generated would be fed to a central power grid, according to Rajnath Ram. Full details of the number of such solar parks in each of the above mentioned states are expected to be announced soon.


The CSTEP study indicates that, if India were to attain the theoretical solar power capacity of 500,000 MW, accounting for 21% of the total electricity generated, no less than one million hectares of land would be needed. This is as per a recently launched web based tool - India Energy Security Scenario (IESS) developed by the Planning Commission with CSTEP and other organisations.


There is the lurking fear that if the current trends in the energy consumption and the corresponding emissions continue in a "business as usual" scenario, then India would have to import 60% of its energy by 2047, and will be emitting 8,705 tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) by this time, according to IESS.


While we must appreciate the efforts of the MNRE (Ministry of New & Renewable Energy), we must also reiterate that the selected states must now actively take interest in organising exclusive industrial exhibitions in their states where in the benefits of installing solar power panels in individual homes should be explained in depth. Workshops and symposiums should be held where qualified contractors with proven track record in the state should be able to present offers to "electrify" individual homes with these solar panels that would take care of their household needs.


Home owners need to be presented a simple proposal, where the cost of such installation is met by bankers, who should be able to give competitive rates (low interest charges). These rates when compared with the actual costs of electricity bills paid by the owner are not very high. Effectively, the owners should be able to break even on their investments in a few years' time, so as to make the proposal viable. The government offers subsidy for using solar power but, at the moment, the investment costs are high and this deters the owner from taking the risk.


Hence, this issue needs to be tackled by the MNRE to make it within the reach of the house owners, and if the state governments want to make it popular, they should select some housing colonies (of small villas/houses etc) and make it a prototype solar power colony. Once successful, this could be extended to other areas in the selected city.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)


Richard Rodrigues
8 years ago
Kerala government and Tata company have already initiated to generate electicity by using solar panels on the top of terrace of many houses and pooling the current to supply others.Tatas giving warranty to the solar panels for 25 years.where as Government will give subsidy to install the solar panels.This type of model can be introduced in our country and save foreign exchange to import coal or gas.Morover earhs ozone layer can also protected by avoiding the emission of carbon gas.We can get carbon credit for this kind of plants
suresh hegde
8 years ago
Good views and suggestion.

I have put solar lighting in my house about 10 years back itself. My house is independant in respect of lighting.

I have also put solar water heater.

But i did not get any financial assistence towads solar lighting. Any possibility for claiming now. Kind advice?
Nagesh Kini
8 years ago
Extremely well put!
Unfortunately both solar energy and rain water that are available in plenty are both going abegging only because of their high initial installation capital costs which pay back over a period of time.
If the authorities are really serious in harnessing both the costs need to be reduced to reasonable levels, there have to be dedicated suppliers making available quality stuff and not the cheap China-mades,the MNES should open this all across the country and not just to the four states arrange for bank loans directly payable to the vendors in a trilateral agreement between the consumer, bank and vendor with the MNES as faciltator.
Dr Anantha K Ramdas
8 years ago
Thanks for your responses. Our main problem is that serious efforts are not made to actually locate, test and certify those of the manufacturers who can supply, for example, solar water heaters. The cost of this, if produced on a mass scale, should surely come down.

Likewise, when we ape the west for so many other things, why not we learn from that in many western countries, it is the people who are taking the initiative to have solar panels installed in their homes to reduce dependence on fossil fuel. If big and innovative CSR minded organizations like Tatas, Wipro, HCL, Birlas, Infosys etc take economic production of these solar panels and the relative items needed to power homes, they should be able to deliver the goods.

Mr Aiyer's points are well taken in the sense that we, the people, are responsible in electing the wrong set of guys to govern us. I am also looking for a "reliable" contractor who can help me to harvest rain water. I have not found one who could be entrusted, because when I ask them to take me to any other place where they have done such contracts, that's the last I hear from them. So, I am back to square one.

This is why if the Ministry were to sponsor an exhibition where these companies can show what they can deliver there is a chance that things may improve, provided, such claims are verified by a totally independent and reliable organization.

Either we take the gamble or be at someone's mercy in taking a chance to give such contracts. I would welcome suggestions from readers who have got the solar panel and water harvesting done (and are satisfied with the result) so that we can go forward with such parties.
8 years ago
In India? In Karnataka, captive power generation is licensed and taxed as being in competition with Government's right to feed on its serfs. Rain water harvesting was another clever gimmick for making the citizen's pay for the problems created by the ruling scum in grabbing land and violating rules and norms established by the Maharaja's and British governments to preserve Nature's right and tradition of harvesting rain water for the benefit of humanity. Indian Governance is about creating scarcity where abundance lies to enrich and pamper the ruling scum. The problem in India is rooted in its grotesque Constitution that graft the satire from the George Orwell's "Animal Farm" such as "ALL animals are equal but some are more equal than others" and "Four legs good, two legs bad" on to the Government of India Act (1935) and the incompetent and corrupt laws, governance and Courts that derive from this to create a Neta-Babu-Milard-Copocracy that devotes itself, since 1947, to subverting the resource of the State and ordinary citizens to their personal pelf, pleasure, pomp and perpetuation. Fix this, and all else will fall in place!
Jayaram M
8 years ago
Interesting: my observations are -
- Currently; solar power is not cost effective except for water heating / emergency power in urban areas mostly because of the space requirement (conversion ratio).
- Inflation is keeping people away from capital investment / especially when your abode is rented.
- Quality / durability / maintenance - the ratio is perhaps 1:9 - for every reliable supplier !
- Most important: there should be a all encompassing strictly implemented policy for non fossil fuels ... please also pay a thought to how much of conventional energy is used to manufacture the solar cells in the first place ! - MJ -
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