[op-ed snap] Rooftop energy

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Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: B2B

Mains level: The recent survey done in Bengaluru and why it is important for solar power sector in India.


News

 Mapping of rooftop solar power potential(done in Bengaluru recently)

  1. Bengaluru’s aerial mission to produce a three dimensional map of rooftop solar power potential using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data can give this key source of power a big boost
  2. The mission was done to assess how much of a city’s power needs can be met through rooftop solar installations

Importance of these surveys

  1.  A survey helps determine usable rooftops, separating them from green spaces, and analyses the quality of the solar resource
  2. With steady urbanisation, solar maps of this kind will help electricity utilities come up with good business cases and investment vehicles and give residents an opportunity to become partners in the effort

These surveys are need of the hour

  1. An initiative(like these surveys) to rapidly scale up rooftop solar installations is needed if the target of creating 40 GW of capacity connected to the grid by 2022 is to be realised

Other important issues

  1. Domestic policy has to evaluate the impact of factors such as imposition of safeguard duty and anti-dumping duty on imports, and levy of the goods and services tax on photovoltaic modules
  2. Major solar projects that connect to the grid often face the challenge of land acquisition and transmission connectivity
  3. This has led to a delay in planned capacity coming on stream during 2017

What should be done?

  1. The Centre should come up with incentives, given the enormous investment potential waiting to be tapped and the real estate that can be rented
  2. The southern States and Rajasthan together host the bulk of national solar infrastructure on a large scale
  3. With some forward-looking policymaking, they can continue to lead by adding rooftop capacity

The way forward

  1. Initiatives such as the Bengaluru mapping project can contribute to assessments of both real potential and risk
  2. This is crucial for (solar power)projects on a large scale involving significant exposure for financial institutions, including banks
  3. With ongoing improvements to solar cell efficiency and battery technology, rooftops will only get more attractive in the future

Back2basics

What is LIDAR?

Solar Energy – JNNSM, Solar Cities, Solar Pumps, etc.
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