Mumbai has the potential to generate 1.72 Giga Watt Peak (GWp) solar energy through photovoltaic (solar) panels atop buildings, a study has revealed.
If installed , these would take care of roughly half the city's power requirements, which peaks at 3.6 GW in summer. Currently, the city generates only 5 Megawatt Peak (MWp) solar energy -— 0.3% of its potential.
The study, conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), consultancy firm Bridge to India and the city chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, calculated the rooftop solar energy potential at various establishments in Mumbai to help the state government tap the potential in Mumbai and other cities.
The researchers used city planning maps and development reports from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Google Maps to calculate how much of the city’s rooftop area could be used for it.
Around 120 students conducted site surveys to corroborate findings.
"We mapped around 30% area in each of 24 municipal wards and calculated the tentative results for the other areas," said Ameya Pimpalkhare, associate fellow, ORF, and one of the researchers.
The study comes after a push for solar energy by the state government through the Comprehensive Policy for Grid-connected Power Projects based on New and Renewable (Non-conventional) Energy Sources 2015.
The policy seeks to generate of 7,500 MWp of solar power projects by 2020.
According to the study, at 1.3 GWp, the city's residential areas have the highest potential for rooftop solar energy generation.
"For any government to come up with a plan to produce solar energy, it should know which instalments have a higher possibility for solar power generation. For example, solar panels can be deployed faster on government buildings. Similarly, the payback period for solar panels on industry rooftops is much lower as they have higher electricity
tariffs," said Pimpalkhare.
He added that the cost of installing solar panels on factories could be recovered in two to three years.