Chennai: Chennai has the potential to harness solar energy enough to reduce the demand by at least 20 per cent says a report by Greenpeace India and Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI).
The report, titled ‘Rooftop Revolution: Unleashing Chennai’s Rooftop Potential’ found that the total rooftop potential of the city was 1,380 Megawatts(MW) and that at least 46 per cent can come from residential areas.
As of today, the ‘Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Solar Power Plants Programme’, which encourages the installation of rooftop solar systems does not have enough takers or support in the country.
“If deployment rates do not significantly increase, it is unlikely that India’s rooftop solar target of 40GW by 2022 will be met. Chennai, by virtue of being a Tier-I city is representative of most locations in India from where the most demand of rooftop solar is likely to arise,” the report said.
At the same time, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority is required to make changes under the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act to make it mandatory for all multi-storeyed buildings to harness grid connected solar energy, which has not been implemented, yet. The per capita consumption, however, continues to grow at an exponential rate.
This measure could reduce the dependence on thermal power stations, believe experts. “Switching to solar will not only help Chennai reduce air pollution by bringing down its dependence on coal as a source of power, but also help policy makers, planners and installers in Tamil Nadu contribute to the India’s overall rooftop solar PV goal of 40 GW by 2022, which is crucial for India’s voluntary contribution to the Paris Agreement. We need the state government of Tamil Nadu to make it easy for residents of Chennai to adopt rooftop solar PV,” said Pujarini Sen, Climate & Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India.
“This study tells us that our common citizens and householders have the power to herald the solar revolution in Chennai. Chennai has always been a city for arts, culture and the strong intellectuals. I certainly hope that the city will also be known for environmental leadership,” said Akhilesh Magal, Head - Advisory, Renewable Energy, Environment, and Energy Efficiency, Gujarat Energy Research Management Institute (GERMI), who led the research of this report.
Landmarks in the city which have a sizeable solar power potential are all Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) Railway station roofs (3,582 kw), Metro station roofs (1696 kw), Bus depot roofs (938 kw) and the Chennai International airport ( 889 kw).
However, there is a long way to go. As of December 2017, only six of the 29 states in the country are complying with the centre’s Renewable Energy Purchase Obligation (RPO).
Tamil Nadu has 10,639.44 MW of renewable energy installed in the state as of 2017 but lags behind in terms of RPO compliance at 81 per cent of the target....