Wednesday, February 28, 2018

DDA approves amendments to Master Plan 2021 - The Hindu

Residents welfare associations raise doubts about implementation of proposals

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Tuesday said that the proposed amendments to the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021 had been approved in the authority meeting.
In a meeting chaired by Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal, who is also the chairman of the DDA, the proposed amendments to the MPD-2021, including a uniform Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for both residential and commercial plots, got approved, the authority said in a statement.
The FAR is the ratio of a building’s total floor area (gross floor area) to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built. The urban body, further, said that basements would be permitted for commercial or professional activities.
“The permissibility of basements for commercial or professional activities is being allowed in shop-cum-residential plots as already applicable for mixed-use or commercial streets. Other service professionals like IT professionals, real estate agents, matrimonial services etc., have also been permitted as part of permissible uses under mixed use,” said the urban body.
“The enhancement of FAR will certainly benefit not only the traders as they can regularise their extra construction. On the other hand, the usage of basements for commercial purposes is a welcome step,” said Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
The urban body, further, said that in areas where parking cannot be provided within the plot, the concerned local bodies will identify and develop land for providing shared or common parking.
“In the absence of any land for parking in the vicinity, such complexes or streets shall be declared as pedestrian shopping streets or areas,” the DDA said in the statement.

Conversion charges

The DDA also said that the ambiguity regarding the annual payment of use conversion charges for “indefinite period” has been rectified. The urban body added that the notification of the 351 roads for commercial or mixed use was being expedited by the State government.
However, dissatisfied with the amendments to the MPD-2021, residents welfare associations raised doubts about the implementation of the proposals.
“There is confusion as things are contradictory. How are the authorities planning to implement the amendments that they have approved? In the amendments, they have allowed commercial activities in the basements as well. Where is the infrastructure to do the same? Similarly, with respect to FAR, they have mentioned a clause about additional FAR. What is this supposed to mean? Is it for an additional area and if so, then the entire point of uniform FAR stands defeated,” said B.S. Vohra, president of the East Delhi RWA Joint Federation Front.
Earlier this month, the DDA had proposed to introduce certain amendments to the MPD-2021 as a relief to traders protesting against the ongoing sealing drive. The Board of Enquiry of the DDA, on February 23 had submitted recommendations for amendments to the Master Plan after taking into consideration objections and suggestions put forth by various stakeholders.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Objections/Suggestions on the Draft ‘Delhi Maintenance & Management of Parking Rules 2017'

Secretary cum Commissioner (Transport),
Transport Department, GNCT of Delhi,
5/9 Underhill Road, Delhi-110054.

Subject: Objections/Suggestions on the Draft ‘Delhi Maintenance & Management of Parking Rules 2017'

Dear Sir,

A study by the Central Road Research Institute in New Delhi had estimated that of the 8,760 hours in a year, an average car’s steering time is only 400 hours. This means it is driven for only about an hour a day, or it remains parked for the 95% of the time. It clearly means that while parked at home, these vehicles for the 95% of the time are not contributing to any Congestion or pollution. 

It will become a huge burden on the residents if you decide to charge Parking charges for parking their own cars in front of their own home for this 95% of the time, i.e. 8,360 hours, per car, per year, on different parameters such as Day charges, Night charges, Peak charges, Off-peak charges, Long duration charges, Short duration charges as well the Severe+ & emergency levels of AQI, which has become a routine in Delhi.

Therefore, Government must concentrate on the 5% time of these vehicles while they are either congesting the roads or polluting the environment and hence must levy hefty parking charges and penalties so that residents are forced to leave them in the parking itself.

Else, we will strongly oppose any kind of parking charges from the residents, for parking their own car in front of their own home as meant in your notification under the clause 12(2). 

Shockingly, normal & multiple rates are to be decided by the civic agencies on the bases of BPF, for the day & night parking of our own car in front of our own home & the charges will again be double under the Clause 12(5), for those who have the stilt parking, as per your above-said notification.

It's the hard earned money of the individuals, who take years to buy a small car, on which Government earns a lot by way of GST & many other taxes. Even on the Petrol Government earns more than 100% by way of Taxes.

The residents, who park their vehicles in front of their own home are not using any Free of charge space. Please go to any colonizer & he will tell you that how they fix the prices of plots, depending upon the width of the inner lanes, that make an area, Posh, Middle class or a Lower one & costs of each and every plot depends upon its location.  

Sometime Emergency vehicles face some problem while entering the inner lane, and it must be given a serious thought that how Govt can purchase such emergency vehicles that can easily enter the narrow inner lanes. But how do you think that by charging the parking charges, a way for the emergency vehicles will be opened automatically?

Therefore we are absolutely against the imposition of any parking charges from the residents, for the parked vehicles outside their own home as it will lead to unnecessary harassment and chaos by the so-called Inspector Raj being introduced by way of the Delegation of Authority, as mentioned in your notification. 

Please let us know that under Clause 10 of your above said notification, why you have asked for the proof of parking, only from the Transport vehicles? Why don't you ask for the Parking proof from all the buyers of all kind of vehicles, including both New as well as the second hand? Why don’t you attach all the vehicles with the Pan Card & Aadhar, to check and restrict the sales of vehicles? 

Thanks, & with the best regards, 

B S Vohra
East Delhi RWAs Joint Front

Friday, February 16, 2018

Draft Parking Policy : DNA

Draft Parking Policy : Sunday Business Standard

Response / Suggestions on Draft ‘Delhi Maintenance & Management of Parking Rules 2017

Secretary cum Commissioner (Transport),

Transport Department, GNCT of Delhi,
5/9 Underhill Road, Delhi-110054.

Subject:- Response / Suggestions on Draft ‘Delhi Maintenance & Management of Parking Rules 2017’

Preamble: On the street people think ...... all Such Policies are made MORE FOR REVENUE GENERATION for the Government  ........ THAN TO OFFER ANY solution to the Problem created in the first place due to GOVERNMENT APATHY AND NON IMPLEMENTATION of dully laid out Rules and Laws .......

........ Please look at previous attempts at giving Parking Solutions ...... Charging ONE TIME PARKING CESS and collection of CONVERSION CHARGES UNDER MPD-2021 ......... Millions of Rupees have been collected without any accountability and no corresponding Parking Infrastructure developed in the past Decade.

On street parking....... 

How will MCDs keep track of cars parked on streets, they cannot even keep track of IMMOVABLE PROPERTIES...... What is the plan for motorcycles???? No solution can be worse than the problem......

Dear Sir,
This has reference to the Advertisement published in various News Papers on the above subject. Following are my suggestions .......

PREPARE A THREE YEAR PARKING ROADMAP (Short, Medium, Long Term and Non-Negotiable), with clear deadlines with the help of Data Collected and Additional Surveys:-

First and foremost, it is claimed the entire capital City has been developed under a Master Plan, that has the force of law since 1962 – the introduction of first Master Plan. Once you have come out with the Draft Parking Rules, it is evident that the Master Plan has been consigned to a Dust Bin with rampant illegal construction, change of land use was allowed for obvious reasons. The Delhi Building Bye-Laws -1983 provides for per hectare permitted housing density of is 140 Dwelling Units. We are not sure whether any agency has carried out any survey to assess the present Dwelling Unit Density per hectare which a must before even proceeding. Further, it has not been assessed that how many stilts have been converted and are being used for purposes other than parking and the cars are parked outside on Footpaths and Roads the classic examples are Vasant Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Paschim Vihar, Shalimar Bagh etc.

  1. DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN DYNAMIC AND DEAD PARKING – discourage people who use cars for Home-Office-Home travel, turning scarce Parking Space unproductive (Dead) for 8-14 hours. Shoppers and Visitors to offices for meetings etc occupy Parking Space (Dynamic) for a limited period of time and the same space is utilized multiple times, giving a fillip to Business. DEAD PARKINGshould be discouraged and made prohibitive ..... DYNAMIC parking rates should be of 15 Minute Pulse, to encourage people to conclude business promptly and save money.
  2. HIGHER PARKING FEE FOR CARS REGISTERED OUTSIDE DELHI – To encourage registration of cars in Delhi, a lot of Revenue is lost to other states, including ONE TIME PARKING FEE.
  3. PARKING FEE BASED ON LENGTH OF CAR – To encourage the use of small cars Parking Fee should be charged based on length of the car, as one BMW occupies twice as much space as an I10.

  1. INTRODUCE POINT TO POINT AC CHARTERED/SHUTTLE BUSSES –Care should be taken that Office goers are not inconvenienced and transport BEFITTING THEIR STATURE be made available at reasonable rates. People use Personal Transport out of compulsion due to lack of COMFORTABLE, SAFE & SURE TRANSPORT.
  2. STOP FLEECING BY AUTO/ TAXIS; SURGE PRICING BY UBER / OLA AND REFUSAL: Autos have been notorious for Refusals and Overcharging. Now Uber and Ola are also fleecing hapless commuters, charging 1.5X to 3.9X SURGE PRICING. INTRODUCE UNIFORM PRICING.
  3. ENSURE FOOLPROOF VERIFICATION OF DRIVERS AND LINKING OF ADHAAR CARD OF DRIVER AND OWNER WITH VEHICLE RC- Safe, Secure and Sure availability of Transport irrespective of distance and area of travel will surely encourage citizens towards Public Transport. Today we cannot dream of allowing Ladies Travelling alone at night to or from Airport / Station etc.

  1. ENFORCE LANE DISCIPLINE – Traffic Police should be instructed to enforce Lane Discipline and man Traffic Lights instead of hiding behind Trees to net offenders and pocket bribes.
  2. REMOVE BOTTLENECKS ON ROADS – Potholes; Encroachments/Vendors; Parking on Roads; Religious Places; Trees; Defunct Electricity Poles etc. create congestion and slows the traffic.
  3. BAN PURCHASE OF VEHICLE (PRIVATE OR COMMERCIAL) WITHOUT PROOF OF PARKING SPACE – Geo Tag Location of Parking Proof with RC, so that multiple vehicles cannot be bought in different names at the same spot. Also, ensure with Google Maps/Geospatial Technology that there is a motorable road for a car to drive to the shown Parking. Introduce differential Fee Structure for parking on Public Land with a percentage increase for 2nd, 3rd or 4th Vehicle Registered per Dwelling Unit instead of per family member. A HIGH COURT RULING FOR HOUSING SOCIETY, RESTRICTING ONE PARKING SLOT PER DWELLING UNIT IS WORTH EMULATING FOR EQUITABLE USE OF PUBLIC SPACES. Fleet owners should create own Parking Zones instead of using up public spaces.

  1. BAN ALLOTMENT OF PERSONAL VEHICLES FOR GOVT. OFFICIALS, JUDGES, PARLIAMENTARIANS ETC – these people have been allotted Cluster Housing in Lutyens Zone and can easily be transported to their respective offices in Special Buses as their office timings are the same. Their cars use up Parking Space that can be better utilized by Visitors who are forced to park outside on Streets. A small Fleet of cars can be deployed on sharing basis if an official has to visit a Minister going for inspection. Anyway more often than not these Personal Vehicles are Ferrying Children to schools or Wives to Kitty Parties.
  1. CREATE HALTING ZONES FOR AUTOS, E-RICKS, GRAMIN SEVAS, TAXIS ETC – Traffic Jams are often noticed near Bus Stops/Metro Stations, Traffic Signals, Market/Hospital Entrances, Street Corners etc as these modes of transport bunch up at such spots usurping one or more lanes.
  2. E-RICKSHAW CHARGING POINTS /NIGHT PARKING AWAY FROM RESIDENTIAL AREAS- All such facilities should be on the Chargeable basis and be suitably cordoned off from Residential Areas for security reasons.
  3. IMPROVE LAST MILE CONNECTIVITY – This proposal has been in the Pipeline for so long that it seems like a Pipedream, surely it is not as difficult as it seems.
  4. PUT THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACE – Multiple modes of Public Transport adhering to a strict timetable be introduced in consultation with experts.

  1. CREATE SUBWAYS AND PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS  Lack of pedestrian facilities make the roads dangerous and are the cause for traffic snarls when people give up private transport there will be a manifold increase in Pedestrian Traffic, so this aspect MUST GET PRIORITY.

  1. INSTALL NUMBER PLATE READING CCTVS - E-Challan traffic offenders and Trucks who enter the city before Entry Hours (which is Rampant)

  1. GPS ENABLED APP BASED SYSTEM FOR ONLINE PAYMENT OF PARKING – UAE has developed a Parking System with HUMAN INTERFACE. A person Parks his Vehicle and tags his location on the Mobile App, which records the Location, Time and Duration of Parking and Deducts the amount from a prepaid account at a PER MINUTE PULSE RATE. Traffic Police routinely drive by with a Number Plate Reader Camera, which instantly verifies if the Parked Car has Tagged itself for Parking. Heavey Fines are imposed on defaulting vehicles, automatically deducted from the account.


  1. IMPROVE ROAD ENGINEERING AND POSITIONING OF BUS STOPS – Go anywhere in Delhi, most traffic jams occur at the start and end of a Flyover, due to merging traffic and positioning of Bus stops close to the Flyover.

  1. EXPEDITE COURT CASES FOR ROAD WIDENING – Ring Road at Nariana is a good example of what can be achieved by acquiring land for road widening …… there are many such points all over Delhi that are stuck in Court Cases.

  1. INTRODUCE FIRST CLASS COMPARTMENTS ON METRO – Airlines, Trains, Busses, Mumbai Suburban all have 1st Class compartments.

  1. FRAME PARKING BYE-LAWS - MPD 2021, while allowing additional FAR and the Third Floor on buildings with Stilt Parking. Having charged CONVERSION CHARGES, authorities thought their job was done. As with everything else the LACK OF APPLICATION OF THE MIND IS QUITE EVIDENT. Earlier the front of a building as per BYE-LAW was to Mandatorily have a 10 Feet Gate with Ramp and a four feet Boundary Wall for the remaining portion of the Facade. NOW ON STILTS THERE ARE END TO END GATES, therefore the space in front of Home or Shop is inaccessible to anyone other than the occupier even if there are no vehicles inside.

  1. VISITOR PARKING FOR RESIDENTIAL COLONIES/SOCIETIES - MPD 2021 has no plan in place for Visitor Parking in the most modern of Housing Societies and Commercial Complexes. ECS Norms framed are inadequate even to accommodate occupier needs, what to talk of VISITORS.

  1. PARKING FOR RESIDENTIAL AREAS- (A) MPD 2021 talks of parking as a composite entity ….. whereas the ground reality is that Parking in Commercial Areas and Residential Areas ought to be treated and addressed separately. While collecting Conversion Charges on account of the additional floor and FAR for a residential plot …. parking has to be provided for the needs of the area residents ……. Whereas the only Parking Lots being planned are in Colony Markets and not for residents. (B) While framing ECS parking norms, Sangam Vihar and Greater Kailash ground realities must be kept in mind, one has smaller cars while upscale colonies have SUVs Saloons ….. Can ECS norms be framed on same benchmarks ?????

SUGGESTION: (A) Areas should be identified with the help of RWAs ….. underground parking in large Colony Parks, Community Centres or Religious Places should be developed for Residential Parking. Parking lots should not be allowed on B.O.T. basis by allowing space for commercial activities. The expensive fully automated parking lots should be avoided to make the projects more viable …. Instead, residents should be encouraged to form Co-operatives and allotted parking spaces on payment as is prevalent in Housing Societies. (B) Different ECS norms are needed for Sangam Vihar and Greater Kailash as bigger cars need more parking space as also larger maneuvering area.
  1. NO CREATION OF THIRD PARTY INTEREST OUTSIDE PLOTTED RESIDENCES & DDA FLATS – NO PARKING CHARGES OUTSIDE PLOTTED RESIDENCES- if within norms, within the width of the plot and does not obstruct smooth flow of traffic.  Home buyers have already paid for the Roads and open spaces on account of Super Area, that includes Parking...... MCD while collecting Property tax under the Unit Area Method has already included such super areas in consideration while categorizing each colony. Therefore, MCD is prohibited from imposing parking charges over and above property tax. FURTHER, how can MCD allocate space on a permanent basis, outside private residences to those living some distance away???  No way will Home Owners forfeit their right over common space. The age-old custom of First Right for the Occupier of property in whose front, the said Public Space is situated has been a well-established convention. However temporary Parking for a short duration is understandable, on First Come First Served basis.

  1. ALL ABOVE SUGGESTIONS REGARDING PARKING FEES ARE ON FIRST PROVIDE THEN CHARGE BASIS- Authorities have in the past Taxed citizens in the name of providing infrastructure but have miserably failed to provide the promised infrastructure. Road Tax, One Time Parking Cess, Conversion Charge etc have all been collected without any accountability. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT BEFORE ANY NEW LEVIES ARE IMPOSED ON CITIZENS, MONEY COLLECTED THUS FAR UNDER VARIOUS HEADS, SHOULD BE UTILISED TO DEVELOP INFRASTRUCTURE, like Parking Lots, Halting / Charging Stations, Streamlining Public Transport, Reigning in Errant Auto/Taxi Drivers etc.

  1. NO CONFIDENCE IN MCD's ABILITY TO IMPLEMENT- We fear Inspector Raj, open to corrupt practices being encouraged, where Law abiding citizens will suffer while a Blind Eye is given to Misuse on illegal gratification which is rampant even today. Anyway MCD is not known for Financial Prudence, going by how Conversion Charges in ESCROW Account were misutilised.

It seems, till now Governments and Municipalities were only interested in creating money making avenues for their Staff and Contractors. Citizens did not figure in their scheme of things ...... HOPE THIS TIME AROUND THE POLICY WILL BE HOLISTICALLY THOUGHT THROUGH. These are preliminary submissions, I request you to give me an opportunity to elaborate in person before a final decision is taken.

Warm Regards,

Member, GK-I, RWA

Thursday, February 15, 2018

नई पार्किंग पॉलिसी - सीलिंग और पेनल्टी का नया दौर?

नई पार्किंग पॉलिसी - यानी की अगर आप अपने घर के बाहर अपनी गाड़ी खड़ी करते हो तो आपको पार्किंग चार्जस देने पड़ेंगे. बचपन मे कहानी सुनी थी की किसी किसान के पास एक मुर्गी थी जो रोज सोने का अंडा देती थी. एक दिन उस किसान ने सोचा की एक एक अंडे से तो मज़ा नही आता, तो क्यों ना मुर्गी का पेट काटकर सारे के सारे अंडे एक साथ निकल लूं. बस यही हाल हमारा है. सोने के अंडे देने वाली मुर्गी से ज़्यादा कुछ भी नही. सभी सरकारें सिर्फ़ हमारा पेट काट कर सारे के सारे सोने के अंडे निकलवाना चाहते हैं. 

पहले इनकम टॅक्स दो. फिर 28% तक का GST दो, फिर हाउस टॅक्स, रोड टॅक्स, कॅन्वेर्जन चार्जस, वन टाइम पार्किंग चार्जस, और अब अपने घर के बाहर अपनी गाड़ी खड़ी करने पर भी पार्किंग और वो भी डबल रेट अगर आप दिन मे ऐसा करते हैं तो. 

क्या बात है. यानी की जितना निचोड़ सकते हो निचोड़ लो. बंदे के पास अपने लिए कुछ बचे या ना बचे, इन सरकारों के लिए सब कुछ होना चाहिए. रोज़गार नही है तो भूखे मर जाओ, कोई पूछने भी नही आएगा. पर अगर अपनी मेहनत से अपने हाथ पाँव मार के कुछ कर लो, तो थैला भरके सिर्फ़ सरकारों के लिए रख लो.

और उस पर भी कोई गारंटी नही कि कब वो कोई नया फरमान सुना कर, और पैसे माँग लें, वरना सीलिंग से लेकर ना जाने क्या क्या. ना दीन ना ईमान, बस आम आदमी परेशान. यही आज की हक़ीकत है और यही हर किसी का अफ़साना है. आप रोते रहो, चीखो, चिललाओ, सरकारों के लिए तो ये बस इक बहाना है.

चलो अब वापिस आते हैं पार्किंग पे. भाई आप पार्किंग चार्जस तो माँगने की बात कर रहे हो, तो क्या आप हमारी कारों की सुरक्षा भी करोगे? दिन मे या रात मे कोई कार चोरी हो जाती है, कोई डेक निकाल लेता है या फिर कोई टक्कर मार कर कार ठोक देता है तो क्या हमारे उस नुकसान की भरपाई सरकार करेगी? या फिर हमेशा की तरह सिर्फ़ लेना आपका काम है और सर्विस के नाम पर निल.

और अगर हमने अपनी कार अपने घर के अंदर लगा दी, पर कोई पड़ोसी अपनी कार हमारे घर के बाहर लगा गया तो कौन बिल पे करेगा? या फिर, हमारे कोई दूर या पास के रिश्तेदार मिलने या चंद दिनो के लिए रहने आ जाएँ और अपनी गाड़ी हमारे घर के बाहर लगा दें, तो उसकी पार्किंग कौन देगा या फिर कैसे देगा? क्योंकि सरकारी ठेकेदार तो दावा करेगा की ये गाड़ी रोज खड़ी होती है और उस पर महीने, या साल का इतना बिल बनता है, और ना देने के कारण 5 से 10 गुना की पेनल्टी, साथ मे 1% इंटेरेस्ट हर महीने का, या फिर ले देकर मामला सेट्ल. वाह भाई वाह, क्या बात है. पैसे निचोड़ने का नया तरीका भी ईजाद.

बात यहीं ख़तम नही होती, इसके बाद, आपकी पार्किंग मे खड़ी गाड़ियों की गिनती भी फिक्स होने वाली है. यानी की अगर कोई सरकारी टीम रात को दो बजे आपके घर पे रेड करती है और कोई गाड़ी, अपनी लिमिट से ज़्यादा मिलती है तो एक बार फिर से सीलिंग और पेनल्टी का दौर चालू. यानी की इस पार्किंग पॉलिसी के चालू होते ही, आप एक नए भंवर मे फस्ने वाले हैं.

और उस पर तुर्रा यह की RWAs को एम्पोवेर किया जा रहा है. BPF मॉनिटरिंग कमीटी तय करेगी, कितना मल्टिपल करना है, ये MCD तय करेगी - RWAs से बात करके और फिर कलेक्षन का जिम्मा आउट सोर्सिंग से किया जाएगा अगर RWAs ने ये जिम्मा नही लिया तो.  यानी की गला भी हमारा और छुरा भी हमारा. अब खरबूजा छुरे पर गिरे या फिर छुरा खरबूजे पर, कटना तो खरबूजा ही है मेरे भाई. अभी भी वक्त है, सोच लो, आवाज़ उठा लो, वरना सीलिंग और पेनल्टीस हम लोगों की नियती बनने वाली है. इसके साथ साथ, MCD या दिल्ली सरकार के हर बजेट पे सबसे बड़ी चिंता का विषय यह होगा कि पार्किंग चार्जस कितने बड़ते हैं.




B S Vohra
East Delhi RWAs Joint Front - Federation

Sunday, February 11, 2018

You Won’t Believe How Simple It Is to Make Your Home Go Solar!

India is one of the sunniest countries in the world, but the adoption of solar power generation by the common man has been very slow. This is in part fuelled by many doubts, often based on groundless misconceptions and myths.
With more than 5,000 trillion kWh of solar radiation and 320 sunny days in a year, India has an abundance of potential for solar power. The Government of India has envisioned a target of generating 100 GW of solar energy, out of the peak demand of 320 GW, by 2022. It hopes to generate 40 GW of such solar energy from residential rooftops, i.e. the end consumer.
To push the uptake of solar energy amongst semi-urban and urban masses, a slew of benefits & incentives are being provided to the end consumers.
1. Central Financial Assistance: Up to 30 % capital subsidy provided by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India on total capital outlay.
2. State Financial Assistance: 15-60 % capital subsidy provided by different State Governments as per their policy on total capital outlay.
3. Net Metering: Produce solar energy from your roof directly in the day and relay excess or unused energy back to your grid against energy credits, to be settled on a yearly basis.
4. Generation-Based Incentive (GBI): State-specific GBI benefits are being provided to the tune of Rs. 1-2/unit of solar energy produced.
Despite such incentives, uptake for solar energy infrastructure by the end-consumer is limited. People presume there are several complexities with going solar, and also have several apprehensions and doubts, based on common myths and misconceptions. However, many of these apprehensions are unfounded, with little basis in reality.

Sun Shine brights atop a Solar System erected on top of an elevated structure from ground level
The sun shines brightly atop a Solar Panel System erected on top of an elevated structure.

Going solar is expensive, and there exists no mechanism for funding or financing

There are various financing options available to the end-consumer through private and public financial arms. Public and Private sector banks such as the State Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, HDFC, and  ICICI, to name a few, finance solar energy systems under “home loans/home improvement loans” category, at favorable interest rates of up to 12 %. There are also other institutions in the market that specialize in solar debt financing of up to 70 %  of the project cost at 11-14 % interest rates.
The key is to ensure that your solar system installer is MNRE-approved, and uses components tested by reputed Indian and international laboratories.

Roof Mounted Solar System
Roof-mounted solar panel system

Solar Panels take up roof space and render it useless for other purposes

This is a very common concern. A typical 1 kW system needs about 100 sq. ft. of the area. The most standard size in a solar plant is 5 kW, and the average roof size of an Indian roof is 900 sq. ft., which means a 5 kW will use up more than 55 % of your roof space. The solution to this is building super-elevated structures from ground or roof level with an elevation of 8-10 ft. on top of which the solar panel mechanism can be put in place. This frees up roof space and does away with the problem of shadowing from buildings that are taller than the client’s own roof.
As per the Central Government’s order, and special order by most of the States, authorities have amended the building by-laws to allow for such elevations for the erection of solar systems. In totality, superstructures increase the energy generation efficiency and even leave the roof free for gardening, barbecue, and other outdoor activities.

Solar Panels atop a super structure thereby freeing up roof space
Solar panels atop a superstructure, thereby freeing up roof space.

Solar Panels only produce about 80 % of their rated output

This is usually because the solar panels are unable to convert all the incidental sunlight that falls on them into usable energy. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Hence, not all the solar panels mounted atop your roof get sunlight throughout the day. The solution to this is using a mounting structure for your solar panels that move with the sun’s movement.
We all know how a sunflower moves with the sun’s movement. You can programme this kind of motion into your solar panel frame. This uses an auto-tracking-based system with an actuator and hydraulic motor, as seen in the video below. Auto-tracking-based systems increase the efficiency of any standard solar system by up to 22 % by replicating the sun’s movement.
Video Player

You need to clean solar panels every 15-20 days, making them a highly labor-intensive asset

Bird droppings, pollution, and moisture are the worst enemies of solar panels and systems. They can reduce a system’s performance if you don’t wash or wipe the panels every 7-10 days. This can be tedious, especially when the panels are atop an elevated structure of 8-10 ft. (like the one proposed earlier).
The best solution is installing a timer-based auto-cleaning system that works like a drip system. It automatically cleans your solar panels every day for 15-20 mins. One would think this would waste plenty of water, and that’s normally true. But, you can use a U-shaped funnel-based piping mechanism to collect the water in one place. The mechanism later discharges the water into a tank for other household cleaning activities or rainwater harvesting. In fact, by covering your roof with solar panels, the overall heat in the house reduces. This saves on AC bills and keeps the house a little cooler.
As is evident, going solar is a lot easier and more beneficial than people commonly understand. With the multiple assistance options available in the market, going solar is now a great idea. It’s time to put the abundant sunshine in India to good use!
Contact Solar Universe India to get your site surveyed, and understand how going solar will benefit you.

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