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Pilot project for solar rooftop power plant in city


GUWAHATI, May 11 - Solar rooftop power plants can ease the city�s growing peak-hour electricity demand. With the Centre putting enhanced emphasis on generation of solar power and providing liberal assistance to the States, the State Government should be pro-active in harnessing solar energy on a large scale.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Dr Dharmaranjan Das, Advisor (NE), Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Government of India, said that a pilot project for Guwahati is being prepared as part of the ministry�s ambitious target of generation of 175 GW of renewable power by the year 2022, of which 100 GW has been planned to be generated from solar energy.

�Access to energy has emerged as a prerequisite for enhancing economic growth and increasing impact on improving literacy, livelihood and health of rural households. Solar energy is clean and can be harnessed easily,� he added.

Despite several national grid extension policy initiatives undertaken by the Government of India and the progresses made so far, substantial challenges remain. The annual per capita consumption of electricity in the North East is the lowest at 258kWh as against the national average of 779kWh.

Dr Das said that the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy had developed a grid-connected rooftop and small solar power plant scheme, the objective of which is to promote the grid-connected SPV rooftop and small solar power plants in residential, community, institutional, industrial and commercial establishments.

�The project capacity is from 1KW to 500KW per project/system. The Ministry also provides subsidy of 30 per cent of the benchmark cost and 70 per cent for the North East and Special Category States,� he added.

Urging the State Government to resolve the issues relating to rooftop solar power plants as per its appropriate State policy, Dr Das said that while the MNRE will provide 70 per cent subsidy, the remaining 30 per cent cost has to be borne by the individual house owner. The State Government might also provide further incentives, he added.

Generation-based incentive is an issue, which has to be handled by the State Government. �As a matter of fact, the State Government must provide an incentive of Rs 2 per unit of solar power generated by the individual house-owners for installing rooftop solar power plants, which will definitely encourage house-owners to put up more and more solar power rooftop plants. There is a lot of roof space available on government buildings, educational institutions, hospitals, etc., and the State Government must prepare a comprehensive plan for achieving the targets set for the State,� Dr Das said, adding that net metering is yet another matter to be handled by the State.

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