People familiar with the situation said Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is preparing a detailed project report (DPR) to turn Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh’s temple town, into a solar city, meeting the city’s maximum electricity demand, including that of the Ram Temple Complex, with green power generated by rooftop solar panels.
According to the sources cited above, the state administration is considering amending the Solar Policy of 2017 to provide more incentives to citizens who choose rooftop solar panels in order to duplicate the Ayodhya model in other cities, particularly those with religious significance.
“L&T is almost ready with the Ayodhya DPR, to convert the town into a solar city by installing solar panels on roofs of houses, government buildings, commercial and industrial establishments etc. This will be [done] on a pilot project basis in the first phase after which some other cities will also be identified for a similar development,” Bhawani Singh Khangarot, director, Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA) said.
According to an L&T survey, Ayodhya‘s 340,000 residents, who live in 81,000 households, utilize 281 million units of electricity each year.
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“The NEDA is basically working on four things in Ayodhya, that is, solar generation from ground-mounted utility-scale and solar plants, arranging solar cooking for community kitchens for devotees visiting the Ram Temple, fulfilling energy requirement of the Shriram Temple Complex from solar and other renewable sources,” Khangarot said.
NEDA has recommended modifications to the state’s solar policy, requesting more incentives to encourage individuals, government, semi-government, and commercial entities to install rooftop solar panels. It has also recommended increasing the state subsidy for rooftop solar panel installation in cities designated as future solar cities. Another NEDA official, Ajay Kumar, stated that the increased state subsidy should be in addition to the federal government’s contribution.
Net metering is already available to domestic and agricultural customers. This facility was eliminated by the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) in 2019 for government buildings and commercial/industrial establishments.
He said the change recommendations had been given to the government, which was expected to make a decision on the matter soon.