Residential houses and institutions in the city are not only saving power by installing solar power units but also contributing to the UT electricity department by producing more power than what they are consuming.
In Chandigarh, the solar power plants have been installed on about 75 government buildings, including 21 residential government houses. The generated power is at first used by the building concerned and then forwarded to the main grid.
The power produced through solar plants atop government buildings, after consumption, is sold at Rs 6.80 per unit price to the UT electricity department.
The administration has revised its target for generating 30 megawatt (mw) power by 2022 instead of 10 megawatt as planned earlier.
It has been learnt that the Centre is considering reducing the subsidy rates from 30% to 15% for setting up solar panels.
The solar panels are installed on rooftops to generate electricity. The power generated is used to run appliances such as fans, lights and even air conditioners. After the power generated is used by a consumer, the remaining electricity is sent to the grid.
Santosh Kumar, CEO, Chandigarh Renewal Energy Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST), said, “The solar power plants are being promoted aggressively in the city. A 2kw rooftop plant covers an area of around 200 square feet, while it costs around Rs 2 lakh, including 30% subsidy. For a 5kw plant, an area of 500 square feet is required.” He also added that a 1kw plant will generate at least 4 units of electricity per day. For a house, around 4 to 5kw power - around 20 units - is required per day.
Around 15 city residents have got the solar power panels installed on their rooftops. The SAS Nagar deputy commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu has also set up a battery operated power plant at his private house in Sector 34, Chandigarh. He said, “I have set up a battery-operated solar power plant - small and best suited - at my house. The electricity generated by the plant can comfortably be used to run fans and lights.
Even private institutions, including Shivalik Public School in Sector 41, have also come forward to save the power. A new entrant in this direction is New Public School in Sector 18, which is in a process of installing solar plants.
Other prominent government houses where the solar power being used include that of the UT adviser, inspector general of police and the director, environment.
The director of the environment department is the first to get net metering sanctioned at his house- after consumption, power generated at the house will be sent to the main grid - from the power department.
Life of solar power plant
The five-year operation and maintenance cost is included in the tender for installation of a solar plant for a house, while the duration is 10-year for institutions. A plant's life is generally up to 25 years. Cleaning is required after every 15 days. The solar power plant without a battery is more feasible at a place like Chandigarh, where power cuts are less in number.
The installation cost of a battery-operated solar plant goes up to `3 lakh, and the battery, which cost around `50,000, is required to be changed after every three to four years. The cost of setting up a battery operated plant goes up by 30 to 40% as after 25-year time, these are required to be changed at least 8 times. The battery-operated solar panels are more feasible in areas where power supply is erratic.
In Chandigarh, there are two policies that exist for installation of a solar power meter- net metering system and gross metering system.
The net metering has export-import feature, in which a consumer first use the power generated from the plant and then export to the grid, while the gross metering means the consumer sells directly to the government whatever solar power is produced. For example, in Chandigarh, the bus stands are proposed to have gross metering system. The system is also good for industrial units. The power is sold at Rs 8.51 without subsidy. The UT electricity department has also put online guidelines for installing solar plants.