The draft solar policy was presented at the Delhi Solar Roundtable Conference organized by the Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC), a think tank of the Delhi Government attended by a broad range of stakeholders including DISCOMs, developers, government officials, Delhi’s Electricity Regulatory Commission, consulting organizations, banks, solar energy experts from Germany, and non-governmental organisations including Greenpeace India.
“In 2013, the Greenpeace report Rooftop Revolution: Unleashing Delhi’s Solar Potential [i] showed that Delhi could be a 2GW Solar City by 2020. The political instability of intervening years has already caused multiple delays in implementing solutions that would progress us towards this ambitious but achievable target. We now hope the Delhi government will show strong commitment towards the timeline presented in the draft policy, and that we actually see Delhi harness 1GW of solar power by 2020 and 2GW by 2025 in a phased manner,” said Pujarini Sen, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India.
The roundtable and the draft policy mark a critical first step towards realising one of the promises made in the Aam Aadmi Party’s 70 point election manifesto. The Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal briefly attended the roundtable and reinforced his government’s commitment to transition towards clean energy. Though the CM stressed his concerns about the possibility of rapid expansion of solar power in other segments leading to an increase in tariffs in the residential segment, there are concrete solutions that could protect Delhi residents from the burden of additional costs, as experts at the Roundtable pointed out.
Several noteworthy details in the draft policy will, if implemented, benefit consumers in residential and other segments. Though solar tariffs at the lower end of the residential sector are yet to reach parity with conventional energy tariffs, the ‘Generation Based Incentive’ for Rs.2 per solar unit for three years will encourage early adopters. The draft particularly places its initial emphasis on government, industrial and commercial sectors. Given current tariff structures, and with the Consolidated Net Metering proposed, these sectors can see significant savings even without any subsidies.
“Delhi has immense rooftop potential, and given current market conditions, it offers the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the viability of a decentralized renewable energy pathway. The experience at Holy Family Hospital, our partner during the ‘Switch on the Sun’ campaign was discussed as a case study at the roundtable. Their solar rooftop installation, which can also be implemented by government buildings, has already enabled them to slash their energy bill considerably. Greenpeace has learned from the hospital that they save over 15 lakh rupees per year on their energy bill,” added Sen.
Greenpeace India has been campaigning for greater national investment in solar energy; it’s 2013 report Powering Ahead with Renewables: Leaders and Laggards [ii] provided a national ranking on RPO performance, and showed up Delhi as one of the worst performers with less than 1% of renewable in their energy mix. The proposed mandate of achieving 75% renewable purchase obligation (RPO) from within the state and penalties for non-compliance are progressive recommendations put forth in the draft policy, given Delhi’s RPO performance in past.
Talking about the draft policy, the Vice Chairperson of DDC, Ashish Khetan, said, “We want to make Delhi a leading solar city of the world, and provide clean, affordable power to the people. Our focus is to bring a policy that’s in sync with the overall energy priorities of Delhi.”
“Greenpeace has shown how solar power can help the AAP government deliver on not one, but two of its election promises: Sustainable Street Lighting: Delhi[iii] a Greenpeace report handed over to the Delhi Dialogue Commission earlier this year, lays out a plan to light up dark spots in the capital through solar energy. We have had multiple meetings with DDC on the same, and if implemented, solar street lights can literally light the way towards a sustainable vision for Delhi’s future,” concluded Sen.
For Further Details:
Madhulika Verma, Communication Specialist, Greenpeace India; 9971137736
Pujarini Sen, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India; 8586016050