The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has sought an immediate ban on use of diesel generator sets in new multi-storied residential buildings in the capital.
The environment watchdog has also demanded that installation of solar rooftops be made mandatory for all upcoming residential societies.
A new study titled ‘Solar Rooftop: Replacing Diesel Generators in Residential Societies’ by CSE suggests that residential societies, which use diesel generator sets for power backup, can easily be replaced with rooftop solar power systems and save substantially on costs.
“In all the residential societies that CSE studied and analysed, the cost of power from solar rooftop with battery backup was found to be about half the cost of power generated by generator sets. Diesel generator backup has become increasingly redundant because of reducing power outages in cities. On an average, many cities now have less than an hour of power cut in a day. We must realise that ‘full backup’ was considered a basic need by upscale societies when the outages often lasted several hours a day,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.
A multi-pollutant emission inventory prepared by Dr Sarath Guttikunda and Dr Giuseppe Calori in 2010 found that diesel generator sets contributed 6% of PM 2.5, 4% of PM 10 and sulphur dioxide (SO2), 25% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 7% of CO levels in the national capital region. Inside residential societies, the impact on air pollution is even higher.
Toxic fumes emitted by burning diesel in diesel generator sets have serious health implications. In 2012, International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans.
The survey conducted in five residential societies across Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan found that the size of the diesel generators was often not connected to outage, but was sometimes linked to the “status” of a particular society.
The study finds that the cost of power generation from a diesel generator set, is Rs 27 to Rs 33 per unit that is much higher when compared to compared to rooftop solar tariff, which is less than Rs 10 per unit now. “We have estimated that up to 3 GW of solar rooftop can be installed on new residential societies over the next five-seven years. This segment can, therefore, be a key to achieving the government’s ambitious target of 40 GW power through solar rooftop by 2022,” said Priyavrat Bhati, programme director (energy) CSE.