December 2, 2015

Maharashtra: Soon, Solar Water Heaters on New Buildings Mandatory in India

To promote off-grid use of solar energy and reduce dependence on conventional resources, the state government is planning to make it mandatory for all developers to put up solar water heaters on new buildings.

"Without solar water heaters, developers will not get occupation certificates for new buildings," said state energy minister Chandrashekhar Bavankule. He added this would be one of the features of the state's proposed off-grid renewable energy policy, to betabled before the cabinet soon.

"Under the policy, we are planning to ensure that water supply schemes of up to 10 horse power (HP) capacity for tribal villages are powered through solar energy," he said, adding that areas covered under the Scheduled Castes plan (SCP) will also get such solar powered drinking water. Solar powered agriculture pumps will also be distributed in tribal hamlets. The policy will also put forth the concept of "solar villages", and other departments such as water supply, water conservation and tribal development will also be involved in its implementation. In addition to this, the state government is intent on promoting generation of power from garbage. This electricity will then be used to power streetlights, water and sewerage pumps in the locality through a distributed generation-based model. These waste to energy projects will be based of a similar project in Pune and can be executed at the ward level. They will help reduce solid waste management problems in the state. The policy will also promote bio-gas for cooking, solar lanterns and rooftop solar power projects.

The state's new and renewable energy policy aims at creating 14,400 MW of fresh grid-connected installed capacity in the sector by 2019-20. It will be a manifold increase from the 2,500 MW renewable energy target in the previous policy, approved in 2008. This will include 7,500 MW from solar energy, and wind and bagasse-based cogeneration will contribute 5,000 MW and 1,000 MW respectively. Small hydro power projects with a capacity of 5 MW and less will make up for 400 MW, 300 MW is proposed to be generated from industrial waste and 200 MW from biomass. Bavankule said the policy will entail an investment of Rs1 lakh crore and will generate jobs.

Maharashtra accounts for 13,500 MW of India's assessed renewable energy potential of 89,411 MW, excluding solar energy. At present, it has 6,721.38 MW of installed green energy capacity, including 4,442.05 MW in wind, 1,448.40 MW in cogeneration, 157 MW in biomass, 287.72 MW in small hydro, 22.51 MW in municipal solid waste, industrial waste and sewerage and 363.7 MW in solar energy. It is one of the seven states endowed with good solar energy potential.

It has an assessed potential to generate 9,400 MW from wind, 2,200 MW from baggase-based cogeneration, 732 MW from small hydro, and 637 MW from municipal solid waste.

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