Gandhinagar’s Solar Success: Why it is Replicated in Other Cities
For those who are yet uninitiated in the matters of solar energy, a trip to Gandhinagar in Gujarat can be very educational. Here, the roofs of several public buildings – such as schools and hospitals – are covered with solar panels that efficiently convert sunlight into electricity. In this post, we cast a look at how Gandhinagar may inspire other cities and states to go solar.
First of all, the rooftop solar project, which is the result of a public-private partnership (PPP), had more than $ 12 million in funding. That in itself is a substantial amount and will go a long way in promoting the uptake of solar energy.
Secondly, the biggest asset of the program is its replicability. Known as the “Rent a Roof project”, this program seeks – since 2010 – to extend the installation of solar panels to all who have the roof space to do so. The project also intends to find a solution to various technical and financial issues in the process.
The program works in cohort with private solar companies selected through a competitive bidding process. These companies rent the roofs on public and private buildings, receiving $ 0.05 (Rs. 3) per unit produced.
However the process behind the “Rent a Roof project” is not as simple as it sounds. For starters, technical issues such as the selection of solar panels and their connection have to be resolved by experts. Then there are the bureaucratic difficulties, such as the stipulation of the terms and conditions of concessions/rebates for components.
Despite this, however, the project has been successful, driven by Gujarat’s commitment to adopting solar energy. In 2009 it became the first state in India to include targets for the production of solar energy in its energy mandate, and a key goal has been to make Gandhinagar a solar city.
Gandhinagar is Setting the Example for Other Cities
Vadodara, the third largest city of Gujarat is now following the example of the state capital. Solar companies are acquiring licenses to begin covering the city’s rooftops with solar panels. This project is expected to rely on private funding of $8 million. In the future, Vadodara’s rooftops will produce enough electricity to power more than 9,000 houses.
Also, International Finance Corporation (IFC) is supporting projects in four other Gujarat cities: Bhavnagar, Mehsana, Rajkot and Surat. The idea is to continue to replicate the concept and cover as many rooftops as possible.
It is good to see that the success achieved in Gandhinagar can now be replicated by other cities. In addition, future projects will benefit from the fact that the teething problems with the Gandhinagar rooftop solar scheme have now been resolved.