Every new building in the state may soon run on solar power, with the state cabinet on Monday approving an ‘off-grid’ policy involving several government departments and offering subsidies in a bid to create and use clean, green energy on a small, local scale.
Officials in the energy department said 16 government departments, including housing, urban development, public works, industries, education and public health have committed to setting up systems to harness solar energy. This means government-run educational institutes, offices, hospitals, residential schools, hostels and jails will start running on solar power.
“We will write to both the urban development and rural development departments to make the necessary changes in building construction rules so installing such equipment becomes compulsory,” energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said.
Government sources said it will spend Rs2,682 crore over the next five years on this project. Along with the pilot project, the policy will also look at five ways to create and use renewable energy – by setting up solar water heaters and cookers, putting up solar panels and using biogas for electricity.
The government is planning to pay up to 20% of the equipment cost as a subsidy to encourage private buildings to use solar power.
Two remote villages that did not have electric supply so far, will be completely powered by solar energy under this project. “We will form micro-grids in two small villages with less than 5,000 people initially and then, extend it to other such villages that do not have electricity so far. These villages will be completely run on renewable sources of energy,” said Bawankule. If all goes according to the script, these measures could help save 500 MW of energy.