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Mumbai holds the potential to generate close to 1,720 MW of solar energy, according to a report released by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay. The report, that gauges the solar energy potential of Mumbai, found that if solar panels are installed atop buildings, the city could generate 1,724 MW energy. If rooftop solar panels are installed in residential buildings alone, the city can generate as much as 1,300 MW of energy.
The state distribution company, MSEDCL, recorded a peak consumption of 2,811 MW last month for Mumbai and Reliance Energy has projected a demand of 1,700 MW.
Of this demand, 1,700 MW can be met through solar energy, a cleaner form of energy compared to coal-based power plants, if the city is able to achieve the potential given in the report.
The report on ‘Estimating the Rooftop Solar Potential of Greater Mumbai’ was prepared by IIT-B’s National Centre for Photovoltaic Research and Education and Centre for Urban Science and Engineering in association with the Bombay section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
The Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai and Bridge to India, too, contributed to the report released on Monday.
Researchers found that Andheri West area (K West Ward) of the city has the highest potential for solar power generation, followed by Borivali (R Central Ward).
Industrial buildings can generate 223 MW and educational amenities have the potential to produce 71 MW of power.
The report also suggests that if the potential was realised into installations, grid management, too, may be possible. In such a case where the potential is realised, the incremental demand for power during peak hours (during the day) can be met through the solar panels.
Rajeev Kapoor, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, who released the report, said in case of rooftop installations, technology was not a problem but economic viability was.
A ground survey by the researchers also found that 37 per cent of the respondents lacked awareness about solar panels and, hence, were not interested in installing them. A little over 25 per cent of the respondents also said installation costs were high and, hence, they were not interested.
Ajay Mathur, Director, The Energy and Resources Institute, too, said the government should work towards making solar panels the natural economic preference for users.
A TERI report released earlier this year estimated that beyond 2023-24, new power generation capacity could be all renewables, based on cost competitiveness of renewables as well as the ability of the grid to absorb large amounts of renewable energy together with battery-based balancing power.