Cochin releases its Solar City Master Plan

The Cochin solar city master plan is a comprehensive document detailing city’s present energy consumption in various sectors, energy demand forecasting and sector wise action plan for integrating renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in different activities. It begins with the introductory city profiles which encapsulate the city’s current energy demands and also the Municipal Council services which are intrinsic to the city’s growing energy demand.

The detailed analysis of the trend and pattern of electricity, petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG consumption has been discussed and thoroughly analysed to base the strategy development of the city. The main sources of energy in the city are electricity, petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene.

The estimation of the future conventional energy demand interpolating the past data of energy consumption as well as population growth data. However other key aspects detrimental to energy demand like city economic growth has also been considered for ascertaining the city’s future conventional energy demands. A Study of the historical growth in consumption levels and population growth projections until the year 2021 suggests that the energy consumption in Cochin in 2021 can be ascertained under the highest growth scenario as 975 MU which gives the city a reduction goal of 97.5 MU ie. 10% of the projected demand.

The success of renewable energy technology projects can only be assured with an accurate resource assessment and its potential in the city. The renewable energy resource availability and intensity of renewable energy resources like solar, wind, hydro- and geothermal in the city has been estimated. This is the most substantial part of the master plan as it delineates the specific strategies for the city. For ease of study, the city has been divided into Residential; Commercial & Institutional; Government & Municipal and Industrial sectors and both renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives are enlisted within it.

Based on the estimates and ensuing calculations, a reduction through a cumulating renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives in the city renders an aggregate reduction of 155.42 MU over five years. Renewable energy interventions alone can achieve 93.64 MU of this with a substantial contribution towards the overall reduction from industrial (33.25%) and residential (29.36%) sectors. The savings in energy brought about by energy efficiency programs is 63.04 MU over the same 5 year period with major contributions from initiatives undertaken in industrial (22.47%) and residential (27.32%) sectors. With targeted projects like installation of solar water heaters and replacement of DG sets with PV systems, the city can potentially achieve the prescribed target well within 5 years.

In addition, budgetary requirements and subsidies available are incorporated in the evaluation of expected investment over the five year period. In conclusion, suggestions and recommendations, as per discussions in stakeholder meeting with the city are also outlined.

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