Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Supreme Court — the three symbols of Indian polity — are all set to go green, and go solar. This piece of heartening news was shared by Upendra Tripathy, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, while delivering the keynote address at the FPJ-IMC Ideas Forum on ‘Solar Power: The Agony and The Ecstasy’, in Mumbai on Friday.
Though he declined to give specific details, Tripathy said that plans were afoot for these three constitutional bodies to run 100 per cent on solar power, which may not be generated in house.
“We are looking at total solarisation of these buildings, even if the power has to be brought from outside,” he said on the sidelines of the event. This follows the move by the Delhi Metro to buy 500 MW of solar power from Madhya Pradesh for its operations.
The senior bureaucrat revealed that the country has 7,000 MW of installed solar capacity; 40,000 MW potential has been identified in the rooftop segment. The scale of the operations can be gauged from the fact that the government has sanctioned 100,000 solar pumps and proposes to create an equal number of solar entrepreneurs in the rural areas.
“Solar power is not agony, it is only ecstasy. It is oil in the sky; power on the rooftop,” the secretary said in his keynote. Referring to technological improvements in the solar sector, he pointed out that Monash University in Australia has already begun 3D printing of solar panels. He said that such new technologies will eventually bring down the cost of installing solar power and make it sustainable.
Referring to the current debate in the sector on how the upcoming solar producer-consumers are disrupting the discoms’ profit models, he agreed that consumers who can pay better are moving away and said that solutions lie in bringing down costs and doing away with differential tariffs. He pointed out that while 11 per cent cost of capital and 13 per cent ROI make the sector an attractive proposition, but subsidies are a drag. Referring to the current low prices of solar power, the secretary said that there will be a correction and in some years the price will go up.