India’s Gurgaon mulls plan to make solar panels mandatory on new buildings

It could soon be mandatory in the Indian city of Gurgaon to install solar panels on the roofs of all new homes and commercial buildings, as the city struggles to meet demand for electricity.

A satellite city to the capital, Delhi, Gurgaon has seen rapid growth, with new residential developments springing up in recent years (pictured) and many multinational corporations setting up offices there.

Now, the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) wants to make building plan approvals conditional upon having solar panels, which would mean no new house or office building would get clearance if rooftop solar panels are not a part of the layout plan, the Times of India has reported.

Property tax rebates for building owners who install solar panels are also being considered.

The rule would apply to new buildings at first but the MCG plans eventually to extend it to all buildings, the newspaper reported.

"The power crisis is going from bad to worse and there is no relief in sight," a senior official in the MCG’s engineering department is quoted as saying. "This is the primary reason why we are planning to make it mandatory for building owners to install these solar panels so that they can use it instead of depending on other non-renewable sources of electricity."

The MCG would also like to incentivise new house or building owners by providing tax rebates of between 5% and 10% per year because, the newspaper reported, solar panels are expensive, with a 3.5kW-to-4.5kW panel costing around $6,600 (Rs 4 lakh).

"Another way to promote this plan is to give rebates to those who have already installed such systems or do so of their own will," the engineering department official said. 

The newspaper said the MCG was in talks with the ministry of renewable energy to finalize the plan.

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