Thursday, April 28, 2005

World's first Solar-City - in India!

via WorldChanging:

An agency for promoting non-conventional energy has proposed a unique plan to the Gujarat Govt for almost totally reducing its dependence on fossil fuels - and depending on the father of Karna instead: the Sun God, Surya.

Gandhinagar currently uses about 4 megawatt of electricity. The plan is to use a solar photovoltaic power plant to generate one megawatt of power and distribute solar cookers and solar water heaters to meet the remaining requirements. The project is to cost about 325 crores.

Actually I had seen the story before. Laudable as the plan is there seem some loose ends that make it seem slightly unfeasible. A state capital in India needing just 4 megawatts of power seems rather low to me. One megawatt is enough for about 200 households in a developed country - at best it would be enough for a thousand households in India. This is not taking into account any industrial or commercial establishments.

Secondly, photovoltaic power plants were tried in Rajasthan with Israeli technology and the concept did not work well enough. Let us hope that there has been some improvement in technology that will make it work this time in Gujarat.

Finally the project plan seems to estimate that cooking and water heating account for three-fourths of the power requirements of a city - which is rather on the higher side.

Having said that regardless of whether or not Gandhinagar can be converted into the world's first solar-city, it is an excellent initiative and could be a great boost for green power in India.