Howrah and Bhubaneswar, India, advance on their Solar City path


The month of March was busy with Solar Cities activities for the ICLEI South Asia team, from collecting information to finalise Howrah’s solar city master plan, to meeting the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) high-level committee and get approval for the Bhubaneswar’s one. The MNRE Development of Solar Cities programme is supporting 60 urban local authorities in India in their transition to become a Solar City; ICLEI South Asia has been assisting 14 of them in this process.

During the 4-day visit in Howrah, the ICLEI South Asia team met Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) officials and other relevant stakeholders with the goal to collect the necessary data needed to finalise the draft solar city master plan report, which will then be approved by HMC and submitted to the MNRE. In the meantime, Howrah has already started its solar activities, by developing five pilot projects, which aim to install renewable energy devices on a number of municipal corporation buildings - ICLEI South Asia is currently checking the feasibility of the installations.

The city of Bhubaneswar is already at a more advanced stage, with the submission to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) of the final master plan report prepared by ICLEI South Asia. The report was discussed in details on 24th March 2014 during a meeting conducted with the MNRE high-level committee, MNRE Joint Secretary Mr. Tarun Kapoor and, among others, representatives from Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and ICLEI South Asia. The review panel suggested some changes to the plan, such as the inclusion of industries specific data and corresponding customised solutions for them, a grid connected solar rooftop for domestic and government sector, promotion of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies in the city and LED solar street lighting for the municipal sector, which will now be further incorporated in the document. The final master plan report is expected to be approved tentatively by May 2014.

Takeaways from Thane Solar cell’s awareness activity


Teams from numerous schools presented their projects based on Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at ‘Oorja – The Power of Dreams’, an inter-school science carnival organised by Shreerang Education Society, Thane. This awareness activity conducted under the Solar Cell, Thane, witnessed the participation of more than 500 people, including representatives of the Thane Municipal Corporation and ICLEI South Asia.

The awareness theme was divided into two parts - Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE). Different electrical appliances and demo models were showcased under both the categories (e.g. Solar Water heater, Solar lighting, Solar lantern, Solar torch, bicycle, Energy efficient lighting etc). The policies of Thane Municipal Corporation promoting use of renewable energy were presented as well. The carnival also showcased information on the Star rating program of Bureau of Energy Efficiency as well as its importance. Show-casing practical benefits of the use of energy efficient lighting system were very useful in attracting the attention of many people.

Through this activity, the Solar cell got familiarised with questions regarding RE and EE from the point of view of the community. The need to provide cost analysis along with the information about reliable manufacturers, dealers and service providers of RE and EE appliances was one of the issues that emerged.

Representatives of the Thane Municipal Corporation suggested installing bicycles in community gyms to generate energy while solving the basic purpose of physical exercise.

Solar City of Coimbatore to install solar concentrator on local school


Together with United Nations Development Program-GEF Concentrated Solar Heat Project and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), ICLEI South Asia organised the ‘Workshop on use of concentrating solar technologies for community cooking and air conditioning application in institutions and religious sectors’ in Coimbatore on 12 June 2013.

India has plenty of success stories on solar concentrator technologies, with the world’s biggest solar cooking system installed in Shirdi, Maharashtra, and designed for cooking food for the devotees visiting the Sri Sai Baba temple. The main bottleneck in the roll-out of such technologies observed so far is the lack of awareness about their benefits. UNDP-GEF in association with MNRE has launched a market development initiative for different Solar Concentrating systems, providing funding for demonstration and replication projects. The workshop aimed to bring together all stakeholders, prospective beneficiaries, MNRE officials, local bodies, manufacturers and consultants.

One of its main outcomes was the decision, by the Coimbatore Corporation, to install a solar concentrator at its North Coimbatore School to tap heat energy to cook noon meal for students. If the experience proves to be successful, the city will extend it to other 15 Corporation higher secondary schools – the Council has already granted its approval for such activity. The decision is part of Coimbatore’s master plan as a Solar City, that the city is developing with the support of ICLEI South Asia.

Mayor S.M. Velusamy stated that, in line with the several measure the State of Tamil Nadu has initiated to tap renewable energy sources, the city of Coimbatore has taken many steps too: three Amma canteens use solar power for lighting and running fans and another three utilise solar power for heating water; solar panels have also been installed on some of the Corporation’s buildings.

Cochin gets ready to become a Solar City


The city of Cochin, India, has teamed up with ICLEI South Asia and started its activities to become a Solar City, following the steps already taken by other Indian cities, such as Agra, Aizawl, Bhubaneswar, Chamoli Gopeshwar, Coimbatore, Gurgaon, Imphal, Kalyan Dombivli, Howrah, Kohima, Nagpur, Rajkot and Thane.

As part of its plan to develop 60 Solar Cities in India, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) provides financial assistance and technical help to cities for the preparation of a master plan for increasing renewable energy supply and energy efficiency measures in the city, setting up institutional arrangements for the implementation of the master plan, carrying out awareness generation and capacity building activities and implementing projects under various programmes of the MNRE.

The city has appointed ICLEI South Asia to support them in the development of its Solar City Master Plans. “We are honoured to be part of the 60 municipalities in India that will become Solar Cities in the next 5 years.” Commented Cochin’s Mayor, Shri. Tony Chammani “ICLEI South Asia’s expertise and support will ensure that the City of Cochin will achieve the targets set by the MNRE for this group of ambitious cities.”

Once the formal agreement with ICLEI South Asia is signed, the city will start its activities towards a 10% reduction in projected demand of conventional energy at the end of five years.

Developing Howrah as a solar city

Chaired by the mayor of Howrah, Ms. Mamta Jaiswal, the first stakeholder meeting for a project which sets out to develop Howrah as a ‘solar city’ was held on December 10, 2012. Following a detailed introduction of the project, including the methodology, action plan and budget, the meeting concluded with technical inputs by experts and the setting of timelines for the implementation of project activities.

Howrah officially on its way to becoming a solar city

ICLEI SA and the Howrah Municipal Corporation inked a formal agreement on 27 September 2012 to work together under the ‘Development of Solar Cities Programme’ supported by the government’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). The municipal commissioner of Howrah Nilanjan Chatterjee, ICLEI SA’s executive director Emani Kumar and the mayor of HMC Mamata Jaiswal were present and, with the core stakeholder committee, agreed to work as per the MNRE- approved roadmap to becoming a solar city over a period of six months.

Three solar city plans recommended for approval by MNRE

The central committee formed to evaluate and approve solar city master plans for the Development of Solar Cities Programme met on 22 August at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). ICLEI South Asia presented the final master plans of Coimbatore, Imphal and Nagpur at the meeting, chaired by joint secretary of MNRE Tarun Kapoor and these were subsequently recommended for approval subject to certain suggestions made by the ministry.

Cities band together for the promotion of renewable energy

ICLEI's work on Local Renewables- a global ICLEI initiative connecting and working with cities around the world through a focus on promoting renewable energy at the local level- was presented in a session on Smart urban Infrastructure . One significant impact of this programme was the development of the Solar Cities programme in India. The commissioner of Thane, RA Rajeev spoke and discussed at length the implementation of the Solar Cities programme in the city. One of the underlying points he made was that despite the fact that India is still developing, Indian cities are still doing their best to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. The Solar Cities programme, he said, is one example.

Howrah to go solar

Howrah Municipal Corporation, under the mayor Mamta Jaiswal, has accepted ICLEI South Asia’s offer to prepare a master plan for the city as part of the Solar Cities Programme. Howrah, often referred to as Kolkata’s twin city is an industrial city in West Bengal. The two cities are connected by the Howrah Bridge, a bridge that spans the Hooghly River.

Making Chamoli Gopeshwar a ‘solar city’

The second stakeholder meeting on the "Development of Chamoli Gopeshwar as a Solar City" was held on February 27, 2012 in Nagar Palika Parishad, Chamoli Gopeshwar. Both the Executive officer and President of Nagar Palika Parishad attended the meet. ICLEI South Asia began with a technical presentation on the Solar Cities Programme and dicussed in detail the draft master plan prepared for the city. After the presentation, there was an open discussion in which stakeholders raised some queries on the implementation of various pilot projects, awareness programs and capacity building activities.

The solar city movement gathers steam

The Solar Cities Programme helps urban local authorities prepare a road map to becoming Renewable Energy Cities or Solar Cities. ICLEI South Asia aims to help cities reduce 10% of their conventional energy consumption by adopting renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.
The five master plans approved by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy so far are for the cities Thane, Aizawl, Kohima, Kalyan Dombivli and Agra.

Member city Vijayawada to become a solar city

The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) has planned to transform Vijayawada into a solar city. VMC has set a goal of reduction in the demand of conventional energy through saving energy by following energy-efficiency measures and generation from renewable energy installations.
For this it would switch to new street lighting system in the city by installing solar lights as a part of its Solar City Project, which has been approved by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Resources (MNRE). Vijayawada is one of the 16 cities identified under the Rajiv Solar Energy Mission Project by the Central government.

Master plan for Nagpur

Under MNRE’s Development of Solar Cities programme, ICLEI South Asia has developed a master plan for Nagpur, which was presented at the second stakeholders’ meeting in Nagpur on August 6. The meeting was well attended by city mayors, municipal commissioners, municipal staff and other NGOs. The programme is to urge cities to rely more on renewable energy for their needs.

Coimbatore to be first solar city in Tamil Nadu

Coimbatore is the first city in Tamil Nadu to become a solar city. Under the MNRE’s Solar Cities programme, ICLEI South Asia has developed the city’s master plan, which was presented at the first stakeholders’ meeting in Coimbatore on August 11. The meeting was convened by the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation, and attended by representatives from the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, city officials, and various NGOs. Commissioner T. K. Ponnusamy declared that the Corporation would install a solar cell on its premises to oversee the implementation of the project and create awareness.

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