Prodipto Ghosh, former secretary of ministry of environment and forest and expert with The Energy and Resource Institute talks about how solar energy use can be maximised. Excerpts from an interview:
India gets lots of sunlight, but we are hardly capitalising on it as an energy resource. What more needs to be done in this direction, especially when it comes to Delhi?
The prices of solar panels have come down considerably. In fact, the prices of solar power are in the range of peak power tariffs (the price distribution companies pay to purchase power). In Delhi, a lot of roof-top space is available, which can be used to generate power. Both residents and the government need to explore this area as an option.
Power tariff has been soaring. And though residents want to opt for solar energy, they find it expensive.
Power discoms must enhance the grid so that people, who have solar panels, can purchase and supply this energy. A system known as NET metering needs to be introduced. This system, which can be introduced immediately, will make it possible for Delhiites to sell power to discoms and purchase it from them when required.
The government’s subsidy on solar energy has not produced the desired effects.
People need to understand that solar energy is economically beneficial. For instance, during peak hours, a power discom may have to shell out R12, when solar energy for the same period can be bought at Rs. 7.
What more should be done to encourage use of renewable energy?
Government really needs to give more subsidy on LED bulbs. This is crucial as 30% of our power consumption goes in lighting. LED bulbs have the potential to bring it down to 5%. Once more people buy them, the commercial prices will also come down.