Rent-a-roof policy on cards for Delhi, India

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The Delhi government has given a strong indication that it is preparing to replicate the successful rent-a-roof solar scheme of Gujarat, which was first introduced in 2011 by then chief minister and current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) announced this week a detailed plan to increase its solar PV footprint, including the installation of solar panels across 40 civic buildings in the city, and a number of private residences, that could add between 50 – 100 MW of solar power to the local grid.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi first introduced such a rooftop solar policy in Gujarat during his stint as the country’s chief minister, and Modi’s pro-solar stance has proved contagious throughout this vast country in recent months as the government looks to accelerate its aims to deliver 24/7 grid-connected power to the entire population.

NDMC is currently floating tenders for EPCs to identify, design, erect, install, test and commission rooftop solar systems throughout Delhi, with the metropolis hoping to become India’s second "Solar City" after Chandigarh.

The rent-a-roof scheme would see private solar energy companies hire rooftop space throughout the city for their installations, paying building owners $0.05 for every unit of energy produced. Government buildings in the city will also be leased out for this purpose, including hospitals, schools and government offices.

Delhi first drafted an inaugural rooftop solar policy in 2011, but the plans were scrapped just a year later due to a poor economic situation at the time that would have left the scheme under-funded. Today, however, Delhi is once again eyeing solar as the most obvious solution to its energy needs. The city regularly suffers power outages and – charged by the national government to source at least 3% of its power consumption from solar energy by 2022 – must begin taking positive action in the solar field.

Currently, the Indian government is working on ways to make solar a more attractive proposition for installers and consumers, and will soon introduce a net metering program to that effect. Progress has been erratic thus far, but there are encouraging signs emerging almost daily that India’s solar strategy is edging slowly in the right direction.