VIJAYAWADA: There are only around some 250 to 260 households with rooftop solar power units in Vijayawada city, one of the 60 cities shortlisted by the Central Government to transform as Solar Cities in 2015.
The objective of the programme was to promote non-conventional energy to save on conventional energy and also to reduce the carbon footprint.
The civic body of Vijayawada has been implementing various aspects like solar power plants for government offices, solar street lights, encouraging educational institutions and industrial units to produce solar power for their own use, setting up solar cell and constituting solar city stakeholders committee as mandated by the project guidelines (the committee met twice till date) in last three years.
However, when it comes to individual houses, certain technical difficulties are proving obstacles. Increasing shadow areas in the city are one of those obstacles. The increasing construction activity to construct new high rise buildings and the renovate, elevate the existing building structures is only increasing the shadow regions.
“The number of rooftop solar units has not been installed in the individual households as expected in last three years. The foremost reason is that there is no space to install the solar panels to receive the sun rays. The shadow of the tall buildings would fall on them creating shadow areas,” said K Srinivas Rao, NREDCAP Krishna district manager.
The rooftop solar power plant was installed at the Collector’s camp office in Vijayawada and when the officials planned to install the same in Joint collector camp office and residence in the city, they found it not viable due to shadow areas. Same was the reason for plans for rooftop solar power units put on hold for residences of some other higher officials in the city.
Tree cover is another obstacle that is coming in the way of solar power units in individual households, commercial establishments. When the officials of energy department faced the same problem in installing the solar unit at Vidyut Soudha in the city, they overcome the problem by installing the solar panels at an elevated place using poles. But similar arrangement might not be suitable everywhere.
Feeder capacity and permission from the energy department is another reason for the slow progress of rooftop solar power units for individual households. According to officials, due to technical reasons, permission can be given to a limited number of such solar units under each feeder.
NREDCAP officials say they are looking for alternatives to overcome the obstacles and hope to see more households with their own solar power units. “We hope to see more such units, as today, solar power has not only become cheaper than conventional power but also environment-friendly,” Srinivas said.