Solar Cycle Stands: Chandigarh’s ‘jugaad’ Solar Enterprise

A 114 sq. km city. 69 MW solar power target to reach by 2022. The perfect ground for many ‘jugaad’ enterprises, right? Let us introduce to you the solar cycle stand(s) of Chandigarh, which has been chosen to be developed as a model solar city by the Central Government in 2008. Lack of area to accommodate the prescribed solar power capacity has forced the governing agencies to look for creative solutions for the solar challenge.

What exactly is a solar cycle stand?  In a solar cycle stand, the roof lined with solar PV plants provides shade to the cycles parked below. Thus the area allotted for the parking of cycles serves a dual purpose – generation of solar energy plus, well, cycle-parking!

Solar Cycle Stand
Solar Cycle Stand

The first solar cycle stand of the Union Territory, in fact, of entire North India, was built in 2014 at Government High school, sector 46. The 1050 sq. m cycle stand, which can shelter 100 cycles, built at a cost of 18.58 lakhs,  with 15 Kwp capacity was to provide electricity for the school and divert its surplus power to Chandigarh Electricity Board’s grid. It must be the practical success of this endeavor that incites the Chandigarh Renewable Energy, Science and Technology Promotion Society, nicknamed as CREST, to replicate the project in government schools across the city.

The Union Territory’s Environment Department is in talks with its Education Department over the proposal, and if all goes well, the city would truly set an example for judicious use of space and transition to solar energy to the rest of India.

Other projects by CREST in Chandigarh

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has raised the bars of achievement for solar power for Chandigarh from 50 MW to 69 MW by 2022; CREST has managed to install 24.90 MW power till now. What are the other measures adopted by the Nodal agency to reach the target – 44 MW solar power in 4 years?

1.    More of parking ‘jugaad’ – Well, this time not for the cycles though. A ₹4.5 crore project to install 800 KW solar plant at the parking area of New Lake, sector 42 is well underway. This includes a charging station for electric vehicles too, the first of its kind in Chandigarh; about 90 KW of 800 KW generated by the plant will be reserved for the purpose.

2.    Solar plant on a stream(!) – A 3 MW solar plant is planned on N-choe, Chandigarh’s seasonal stream flowing through its Garden of Springs, Sector 53.

3.    Solar water fountains(!) –  Three water fountains are to run in the water bodies of the city forest near Sukhna Lake, the power for which will be generated by an 8 KW solar plant.

Apart from the innovative measures listed above, the UT administration has also extended the last date of application for residential rooftop solar power plants till June 30, 2019; previously the date expired on 17 November 2018. The 30% subsidy for solar plants is being transferred online to residential solar rooftop power plant owners as opposed to the previous norm of giving cheques, all this in an attempt to ease the procedures involved and encourage more people to adopt solar power.

Well, Minus CO2 extends our best wishes to all the endeavors of CREST in building India’s first solar model city.  Way to go!