India has selected 50 municipalities across the country to develop plans to become 'solar cities'.
Each solar city will aim at a minimum 10% reduction in projected demand for conventional energy within five years through the installation of renewable energy technologies including solar, wind, biomass, small hydro and waste to energy. Energy efficiency measures may be included depending on the resource availability in each town or city.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said plans have already been prepared for 46 out of the 50 municipalites. The total cost for the 50 sanctioned cities and towns would be INR236.9 million (US$3.55 million) for which INR61 million has been released.
Each city may receive financial support of up to INR5 million to prepare the master plan.
Jasmeet Khurana, senior consulting manager at analyst firm Bridge to India, told PV Tech that once the MNRE funds have been released, it will then be up to municipal corporations to carry out the plans.
Although Khurana said this is an old policy, which has “not been very streamlined”, it will make up part of the Indian government's target of reaching 40GW of rooftop solar by 2022.
The 50 cities sanctioned for the solar city developments are: Agra, Moradabad, Allahabad, Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Surat, Nagpur, Kalyan-Dombiwali, Thane, Aurangabad, Nanded, Gwalior, Rewa, Imphal, Kohima, Dimapur, Dehradun, Haridwar-Rishikesh, Chamoli-Gopeshwar, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Coimbatore, Vijayawada, Bilaspur, Raipur, Agartala, Guwahati, Jorhat, Hubli-Dharwad, Mysore, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Mohali, Jodhpur, Bhubaneswar, Aizawl, Panaji City & Environs, Itanagar, Hamirpur, Shimla Shirdi, Ajmer, New Town Kolkata, Howrah, Madhyamgram, New Delhi, Puducherry, Kochi and Bhopal.
There are six proposed cities in Maharashtra, four in Madhya Pradesh, and three in Punjab, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, “in-principle” approvals have been given to five cities: Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Indore, Leh and Mahbubnagar.
India has targeted 100GW of solar by 2022. Mercom Capital Group's latest quaterly report on India revised its forecasts, expecting the country to install 2.5GW of solar in 2015, significantly up from the previous forecast of 2GW.