As part of the Government of India’s (GOI) solar city initiative, “Development of Solar Cities”, the Chan-digarh Solar City Project achieved the targeted 10% reduction of conventional energy demand in its first 5 years of operation through various innovative measures that started a holistic and sustainable transition of the electricity sector in the city. These measures include initiatives and interventions aimed at installing rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV), increasing forest cover, and awareness campaigns on the benefits of solar energy. The project also set its own objective of installing 40 MW solar capa-city between 2009 and 2018 (the summation of the rooftop solar PV (10 MW) and large-scale solar (5MW & 25 MW) targets in the long term, based on energy audits and renewable energy potential assessment), delineated in Chandigarh’s Solar City Master Plan. In June 2018, the target was revised to follow national Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs), with an RPO target of 10.5% for the pe-riod 2019-2022 for Chandigarh. This target translates to 69 MW of installed solar capacity by 2022, a jump of 29 MW from the 2018 target.
The project is being implemented by the Department of Science and Technology’s (Chandigarh Administration) organisation, the Chandigarh Renewal Energy and Science & Technology Promotion Society (CREST), after a thorough and robustly consulted design process conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). The model targets the residential as well as non-residential sector to promote solar energy. It creates an enabling environment for the sectors to produce green power using grid connected solar PV systems, install solar water heaters (SWH) and use energy efficient appliances for lighting and cooking. Further initiatives are currently being taken up to solarise govern-ment buildings and public facilities.
Moreover, the programme has successfully generated socio-economic co-benefits which can be used to leverage the sustainable development goals (SDGs) as well as the country’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) targets as part of the Paris Agreement. For example, the model enables access to affordable and clean energy, which meets both India’s emission reduction NDC target and SDG 7. This case study identifies these potential co-benefits of the model along with their potential entry points to meet said national climate and development targets.
Chandigarh´s Solar City Project qualifies as a good practice because it is innovative in terms of its approach, technically feasible, it aligns well with the SDGs and it engages with key stakeholders.