Govt plans 60 solar cities

FC 19/5/09

The union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) is proposing to develop 60 cities in the country as solar cities to achieve at least 10 per cent reduction in the projected demand of conventional energy in the next five years by enhancing the supply of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures.

As per this plan, the ministry is presently in the process of appointing national level reputed consulting firms or institutions to prepare the master plan. The consulting firms will be roped in to chart plans for increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy supply in the city, establishing institutional arrangements for the implementation of the master plan and awareness creation and capacity building activities, said an official statement.

The ministry has called for expression of interests for empanelment of consultants who would be interested in consultancy assignment for preparation of the master plan for solar city programme.

The ministry plans to develop 60 such cities during the 11th plan period. The ministry will support at least one city in each state up to a maximum of five cities. To set an example for other cities, it has been decided to develop two cities as model solar cities. Nagpur in Maharashtra is set to be the first model solar city in the country.

The ministry will provide Rs 50 lakh for master plan, solar city cell and promotional activities. Major solar energy system will be installed including streetlights, garden lights, traffic lights, hoardings, and solar water heaters, among others. Energy efficient green buildings also will be promoted on large scale under solar city plan.

Financial support up to a maximum Rs 9.50 crore will be available to each of these model solar cities for implementation of the master plan. The support will be on 50 per cent cost sharing basis from respective municipal corporation/state government. Funds will be released after the city identified for development as model solar city submits its master plan.

If the total funds of Rs 19 core (MNRE support of Rs 9.50 crore and the matching grant from state government) for developing a city as model solar city are not sufficient, the city will be eligible to draw additional grant for installation of renewable energy systems from various ongoing schemes of the ministry.

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