New RE policy in West Bengal rooftop solar panels mandatory in multi storey buildings
The multi-storey buildings in the state of West Bengal will have the obligation to install solar panels on the rooftops for power generation, according to a new policy approved by the state government on Wednesday, May 23 regarding power generation from renewable energy sources. The policy was cleared by the state cabinet committee on infrastructure and industry.
The new policy mandates the multi-storey buildings to have solar panels installed on the rooftops. Power generated has to be transferred to grid and residents will draw electricity from it. The additional amount will be adjusted in their monthly bills.
According to state power minister Manish Gupta, building rules in the state have to be amended to make this happen and talks are on with the urban development and environment departments. He informed that according to the energy regulatory commission, by March 31, 2013, generation from renewable sources has to be 260 MW from the current 193.64 MW. Sources to be tapped are wind power, mini and small hydro power, waste gas from steel plant and coke plants (cogeneration sources), rice husk, municipal waste and solar power.
The new policy has been prepared by an expert committee appointed by the state government with members like Dr. SP Gon Chaudhuri, former adviser to the state power department, among others. PricewaterhouseCoopers was a consultant for preparing the draft of the policy and it was funded by the British government’s development aid agency Department for International Development (DFID). The policy has both long-term and short-term objectives along with the scope, focus areas and strategies.
The policy talks about the requirements with regard to setting up infrastructure for all renewable energy sources like solar, wind, biomass, small hydro, etc. It also lays down how land could be used for a renewable energy project. It took ten months to prepare the draft and it was finally submitted to the government in April.
Total potential of power generation, including all sources of renewable energy, by 2022 is 2206 MW. Target cumulative capacity at the end of the 12th year plan, by 2017, has been set at 587 MW and by the end of the 13th plan, in 2022, is set at 1865 MW. If the target is not met, then there will be heavy penalty. For those setting up renewable sources of power, there will be huge financial benefits from the government – the generated power units would be purchased at double the actual cost.
West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation (WBGEDC) will be the nodal agency to facilitate investment in renewable energy and grid connected renewable energy units in the state. West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) will promote new renewable energy technologies through ‘demonstration’ projects.