New Delhi: To better monitor solar rooftop projects that have already been developed or are being set up, the government has directed that they be geo-tagged.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in June 2015 enhanced India’s solar power target from 20,000 megawatts (MW) by 2022 to 100,000 MW .
Of the 100,000 MW, 40,000 MW is planned to be achieved through grid-connected solar rooftop projects.
“Given the importance of the target, progress of the project is being directly monitored by PMO (prime minister’s office). In order to ensure scrupulous monitoring, geo-tagging of all renewable energy projects and resources is to be ensured. For this, geo-tagging of already executed projects and new projects is necessary,” said a letter sent on 29 August by the Union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) to all entrepreneurs, public sector units and other agencies implementing solar projects.
The government believes solar rooftop projects have tremendous potential for generating decentralized and distributed solar power by utilizing vacant rooftops of industrial, commercial, residential, institutional and public buildings.
Geo-tagging is a system under which a GPS-enabled device adds latitude and longitude information to photos and videos.
The MNRE directive asked nodal agencies in states and public sector units to regularly update details of commissioned projects with additional information like the latitude and longitude of sites and photographs of the projects.
It asked all other stakeholders, including new entrepreneurs, to update details of their projects by 30 October with the ministry.
This is not the first time that NDA government has focused on geo-tagging of assets for strict monitoring purposes.
In June, the Union ministry of rural development and the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) signed an agreement for geo-tagging to keep track of assets created under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
According to the ministry of rural development, around three million assets are created annually across India under MGNREGA, which offers at least 100 days of manual work every year to one member of every rural household.
Also Read: Isro to geo-tag assets created under MGNREGA
“It’s a good move to start evaluating and monitoring programmes. It gives a basic idea about the status of huge schemes like India’s solar energy programme,” said Rakesh Kamal, senior programme manager, climate change at the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based environmental think tank.