New Delhi: More and more of the capital's best known monuments may now be illuminated through solar energy.
Building on the experience gained over the last three years and keen on promoting the use of environment-friendly solar energy, the Delhi government plans to light up more of the capital's historical sites through cheap and plentiful energy from the sun.
The 13th century Qutub Minar, the 17th century red sandstone Red Fort and the 16th century Humayun's Tomb - all declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites - are among the six sites where the Delhi government plans to install solar power plants to replace conventional sources of electricity.
"We are planning to install solar photovoltaic (SPV) systems on the premises of heritage sites and historical monuments where footfalls are higher," a Delhi government official told IANS. SPV cells convert sunlight into electricity.
"Now, these monuments and sites will be illuminated at night by solar energy," the official added.
He said the environmental-friendly step would promote the use of solar energy in the capital.
"We have already illuminated two tourist spots - Jantar Mantar and Safdarjung's Tomb - by installing solar plants on their premises," the official said. These solar power plants were set up in 2009.
Installed at a cost of Rs. 25 lakh, the plant at Jantar Mantar generates nine kilowatts of power while the plant at Safdarjung's Tomb produces 10.4 KW which can light up the site for more than four hours. Seeing the success at these sites, the authorities thought of replicating it at other sites too that attract a lot of tourists.
"Sites like Humayun's Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar come under the Archaeological Survey of India. We will have to take permission from them as they protect these sites," another official told IANS.
A top ASI official said they are yet to get a proposal but will consider it.
"We already have two solar plants at Jantar Mantar and Safdarjung's Tomb. If the Delhi government sends us any proposal to illuminate other sites we will see how can we go forward and how much power the plants can generate," the official told IANS.
The other sites the Delhi government is planning to light up through solar energy are Jama Masjid, the Old Fort and the Lotus temple.
"We are also in talks with the Delhi Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to install a solar power plant at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib," the Delhi government official added.
Under the Special Area Demonstration Project Programme of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) states are encouraged to popularise and promote the use of the renewable energy systems as alternate sources of electricity.
"The ministry provides subsidy to any organisation or department for installing SPV systems. The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Management Centre of the Delhi government will install these plants as it is the nodal agency for the programme," the official said.
According to the official, the cost of installing a one-kilowatt plant, which requires an area of 10 sq m, is over Rs.200,000.
He said that at a time when the capital faces an acute power demand, solar energy can be a great of source of alternate energy.
First Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012, 20:56