Five years on, Chandigarh is officially model solar city

ChandigarhUnion Minister Farooq Abdullah inaugurates the solar plant at Paryavaran Bhawan in Chandigarh. Kshitij Mohan

Five years after it was first conceived and a year since its approval, Chandigarh officially became a Model Solar City on Wednesday after Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Dr Farooq Abdullah launched the project with the inauguration of two rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Power Plants: one at Paryavaran Bhawan and the other at Model Jail.

Similar plants have been installed or are in the process of being installed at other places as well. The power plants are grid interactive: excess power will be sent to the grid while power can be drawn from the grid in case of shortage.

Paryavaran Bhawan in Sector 19 will house a 50 KW grid interactive plant that has been built at a cost Rs 90.40 lakh, with the Centre contributing half the amount. The plant will be able to generate 65,000 units of electricity per year. While it had been installed a few weeks ago and was working, it was formally inaugurated on Wednesday.

Model Jail, on the other hand, has a 100 KW power plant, making it the first prison in the country to have such a system; it has been built at a cost of Rs 1.43 crore. The plant will generate 1.30 lakh units of electricity per year. Officials state that most of the jail's energy requirement (the prison requires 1.60 lakh units a year) will be fulfilled through the power plant.

Union Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah, however, warned that the Model Solar City concept would be successful only if the Administration is able to attract private agencies and convince the public to install solar power plants on their rooftops. He added that this required wider publicity. Dr Abdullah further stated that his ministry is making efforts to promote the use of solar energy for daily use. He added that there is a need to promote solar energy to reduce fossil fuel imports.

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