Investments made in solar technology carry symbolic value. Given how rapidly all the conventional sources of energy are running out, and how near we are to a full-blown power crisis, buying alternative power has become a responsible position to take, even if it comes at high price.
Solar technology experts say that going green can now even make economic sense. The recent launch of a grid-connected solar power plant - installed at the research wing of a public sector undertaking here - in some ways marks what could be the beginning of solar power becoming a viable option for consumers in Gurgaon.
The plant, with 90kWp capacity, is installed on the top of the R&D building of Engineers India Limited in Sector 16. And according to those in the know, this is enough to power the daily operations on one whole floor, with high projected savings on electricity costs.
"The consumer with a rooftop solar plant of 90kWp capacity can save over Rs 10 lakh in electricity consumption annually," said a representative of the power solutions firm Su-Kam Power Systems, which has installed the plant and will be looking after its maintenance for the next five years.
Power consumption in Gurgaon's commercial sector is at an unprecedented high. Out of the total volume of electricity supplied to the district, over 40% is bought by industries and businesses. Yet within this volume, the proportion of electricity generated from alternative sources remains considerably low. And the reluctance of the commercial sector to adopt solar technology is one of the reasons for this.
"A solar plant basically entails initial costs as maintenance costs are negligible," said Ashish Sethi, associate VP, solar projects, Su-Kam Power Systems. The power-consumption trend in the near future, according to Sethi, is likely start veering towards solar energy, because tariffs for grid electricity are only going to rise.
"It definitely makes sense for people to now move to solar energy. Here, there are no tariff hikes, whereas on the conventional grid the power tariffs are only going to go up each year," Sethi said.
According to S S Verma, an industrialist in Udyog Vihar, investing in solar plants is still not economically viable for the small-scale sector. "This is despite the subsidies. The costs are way too high, and this is why you don't see solar panels anywhere in Udyog Vihar," he said.