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Solar Cities: An Option for India

India is set to invest US$84 million to build the first of 60 solar cities where much of the electricity will be provided by solar installations.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said that Agartala, the capital of the Tripura state in northeast India, has been selected as the pilot for this scheme. MNRE is expected to bear 90% of the cost of transforming Tripura into a solar city with the balance being shouldered by the state government.

The Tripura Renewable Energy Development Authority and the urban development department, in association with MNRE, will implement the scheme.

Of India’s 60 proposed solar cities, eight cities have been identified in the northeastern region by MNRE. The cities include Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh, Agartala, Guwahati and Jorhat in Assam, Aizawl in Mizoram, Imphal in Manipur and Kohima and Dimapur in Nagaland.

As part of the solar cities plan, solar hot water systems will be installed in all hotels, nursing homes, school hostels, government circuit houses and bungalows, hospitals and health centers, tourist lodges, temples and the governor’s residence in these solar cities. The city’s street lights and other lights in public places will also run on solar energy.

“Agartala city would be the first ‘solar city’ in northeast India within the next few years,” said Tripura’s urban development minister ManikDey.He noted that solar power is a sustainable and viable energy for both cities and remote areas. He believes India’s electricity crisis will not be solved unless India uses non-conventional energy like solar power in a big way.

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