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Poor Response to Model Solar City
The much-talked about energy conservation plans of the Uttarakhand Administration have failed to strike a chord with the city residents.
Be it the installation of solar water heating system (SWHS) or solar panels at the rooftop of houses, various schemes of UT Administration under ‘model solar city’ project of Chandigarh has evoked poor response.
Even as the SWHS was made mandatory in Chandigarh in the plots of one kanal or more in the year 2008, the UT Administration’s endeavor to promote this initiative for energy conservation has failed to yield the expected results in the city.
The initiative of promoting usage of SWHS is a vital component of the ambitious ‘model solar city’ project.
As per the UT rules, in case of residential buildings, all houses including new constructions and the existing houses on a site of one kanal will make provisions for SWHS having capacity of at least 100 litres and on a site of two kanals and above that of at least 200 litres.
SWHS is also mandatory in hotels, lodges, guest houses, hospitals and nursing homes, including Government hospitals, jail barracks, canteens, housing complexes set up by Group Housing Societies/ Housing Boards, all Government buildings like, schools, colleges, hostels, technical/ vocational education institutes and industries where hot water is required for processing.
However, the compliance rate remains poor in residential and commercial areas.
“The process to install the SWHS in government buildings is in progress while the compliance rate of UT’s rules is poor in residential areas,” informed an official of the CREST (Chandigarh Renewal Energy Science and Technology Society).
“There has been no annual audit or report on the level of implementation of SWHS or compliance to the rules in Chandigarh so far. We can not penalise residents for flouting the norms. This authority is with Estate office or Public Health Department. Though no data is available but the SWHS is not installed in large number of houses,” he added.
While the rules to make mandatory provision of SWHS were notified in 2008, it was never abided by the residents.
A subsidy of 25 per cent is provided by the UT Department of Science and Technology for installation of SWHS. The installation of the system cost more than Rs20,000.
The master plan to make Chandigarh a solar city, which has been approved by the Centre, has fixed the target for the coverage of SWHS (as a proportion of total heating demand in residential and commercial sectors). With the usage of SWHS, the plan targeted to reduce the present energy consumption in residential sectors by 10 percent till 2012, 25 per cent till 2015 and 45 per cent by the year 2018.
Nevertheless, the targets now seem unachievable with poor compliance rate to the UT’s rules.
When contacted, Santosh Kumar, Director Science and Technology Department and CEO CREST said, “It is mandatory to make a provision of SWHS in the plots of one Kanal or more, and no new building plan is passed without the same. However, the existing houses or old plots of one Kanal or more continue to flout the norms.”
“The SWHS is yet to get popular in residential areas. The higher cost and limited usage of SWHS are major factors for this. The Department is in process to popularise the usage of SWHS,” he added.