PM Modi inaugurates Gandhi Solar Park with 193 solar panels
Prime Minister Narendra Modi remotely inaugurated the Gandhi Solar Park with 193 solar panels, each representing a member of the multilateral body, at the UN Headquarters during the Gandhi@150 commemorative event to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Tuesday and mark India’s global leadership in renewable energy.
“Whether it is climate change or terrorism or selfishness in public life, Gandhiji’s ideals are the guiding light for us when it comes to protecting humanity. I believe the path shown by Gandhiji will lead to a better world,” said prime minister Modi.
The 50 kilowatt hour (kWh) roof-top solar park was built at a cost of US $1 million. With each panel powered to reach the max of 50 KWn of generation power, which will take the park’s annual output is 86,244 KWh. This equals 61 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, 30,242 kg of coal burned and carbon sequestered from 1,008 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
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“Never has there been a symbolic Indian effort at the UN of a tangible nature, which impacts every country. The UN always talks about renewable energy, it always talks about climate action, climate change. By this small effort, we show our willingness to go beyond the talk,” said India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin.
“There’s a massive change in perception about India globally, and the Gandhi Solar Park at the UN headquarters symbolised that. India has demonstrated leadership in the sphere of renewable energy over the last few years and there has been a dramatic shift in India’s position in the UN climate talks over the past five years, and it has moved from being a laggard to a leader,” said Harjeet Singh, the global lead on climate change for Action Aid, who is in New York for the UN Climate Action Summit.
India is the third largest emitter of green house gases, after China and the US. Coal power, cattle and paddy are major sources of emission, though per capita emissions are roughly a seventh of the US and less than half the world average.
India has pledged for a 33-35% reduction in emission intensity (emissions associated with each unit of economic output) by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, as part of its commitments to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.
“In terms of emission intensity, we are on track. India has done quite a bit of work in energy efficiency and that’s a target it will easily achieve. Improving technology and the impressive shift from incandescent bulbs to LED within just a couple of years was a great shift made,” said Singh.
In the renewables, there is some progress, but not enough. “India has set the target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy by the year 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 from wind and the rest from small hydro, etc. Out of 100 GW of solar, 40 GW is expected to be achieved through rooftop solar project. India has so far achieved only 10 per cent of its 40GW target of rooftop solar,” said Singh.
India will host the second general assembly of the International Solar Alliance, which was jointly launched by India and France, in New Delhi from 30 October to 2 November, on the sidelines of COP-21, the UN Climate Conference.
India hosted an event called ‘Leadership Matters: Relevance of Gandhi in the Contemporary World’ in the UN Headquarters, which was addressed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, South Korea President Moon Jae-in, Singapore Prime Minister M Lee Hsien Loong, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
A special UN postage stamp on Gandhi@150 years was released and the Gandhi Peace Garden, which is a crowd-funded project to plant 150 trees adopted by people in the memory of their loved ones at the State University of New York-Old Westbury campus, was in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.