The concept of "Solar Citiy" has been popular and well conceived in different parts of the world by various Governments as an initiative for the dissemination of Renewable Energy technologies and as a measure for Sustainable Development.
The focus is on cities as complete systems, and involves establishing targets for energy use and emission reduction, identifying performance indicators, and developing planning strategies aimed at improved performance, within the framework of existing city networks. It sees each city as a unique laboratory for studying the effect of dense urbanisation on energy and the environment, and for determining the required changes and additions to the urban environment needed for sustainability and improving the standard of living for city inhabitants.
A Solar Community is a city or town that made a firm commitment to clear and ambitious emissions reduction targets, also recognising that RE sources and energy efficiency are necessary to achieve sustainable energy provision.
There is an International Solar Cities Initiative (ISCI) aimed at promoting the greater use of renewable energy (RE) within the context of long-term planning for sustainable urban development. The International Solar Cities Initiative (ISCI) originally was an idea of outstanding scientists in the field of solar energy. Sustainability is a word with a rapidly increasing importance in public opinion. Society and its cities should be developed in such a way that use of materials and energy does not exceed the ability of Earth to support it.
The use of energy by far has the largest negative impact of our environment and is exhausting the stock of minerals containing it at an incredible speed. In a few ages mankind uses what had been formed in millions of years.
Solar energy and its derivates are easily available and easily to harvest if we just aim for it and are willing to make an effort. Our buildings can stay comfortable and could nearly operate without the need of external heat sources by using the natural behaviour of the sun. The basic principles have been known for ages.
We can harvest solar heat with low or high tech solar collectors. More than hundred years ago this technique was highly developed already.And we can make electricity from sunlight with rapidly increasing efficiency and decreasing cost. By "going solar" cities set the most important and influential step to sustainability.Therefore sustainable cities have to be solar cities.
Application of solar energy is important in a society which is very dependant if not addicted to energy use. And solar energy can supply a larger share of that energy need than most decision makers know. In many cases it even can be done without adding to the cost of energy or even diminish energy need and net energy costs.
Some of the Solar City initiatives in the world taken up by various Governments in different parts of the world are mentioned below:
Development of Solar Cities - An initiative by the Indian Govt.
In India, several cities and towns are experiencing 15% growth in the peak electricity demand. This rapid rise in demand has resulted in most of the cities and towns are facing severe electricity shortages. Thus managing energy demand has emerged as a priority for the local governments and Municipal Corporations. An action plan, therefore, needs to be developed which would lead to reduction in conventional energy consumption, besides reducing enormous amount of CO2 emission in the atmosphere by way of using energy conservation and renewable energy devices and systems. Accordingly, a programme on “Development of solar cities” has been developed to promote the use of Renewable Energy in Urban Areas by providing support to the Municipal Corporations for preparation and implementation of a Road Map to develop their cities as Solar Cities.
The objectives of the programme are to enable Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) to address energy challenges at City level; to provide framework and support to ULBs to prepare a Master Plan including assessment of current energy situation, future demand and action plans; to build capacity in ULBs and create awareness among all sections of civil society; to involve various stakeholders in the planning process; and to oversee the implementation of sustainable energy options through public – private partnerships.
A total of 60 cities are proposed to be developed as "Solar Cities¨ during the 11th Plan period. At least one city in each State to a maximum of five cities in a State will be supported by the Ministry. The cities included in the program will have more than 5 lakh and less than 50 lakh population.
The Programme has been designed to address challenges in delivering sustainable energy at city level through Preparation of a Master Plan within a period of one year from the date of sanctioning by the Ministry. The Master Plan prepared as per the indicative guidelines would provide total and sector-wise projections for energy demand and supply for next ten years. Further, it would provide a complete sector-wise base-line on energy utilization and GHG emissions in the city. Year-wise targets for energy conservation, renewable energy addition and GHG abatement along with the action plan for implementation will be clearly brought out in the Master Plan. Potential sources of funding from respective organizations (both public and private) for providing financial support will be identified.
The programme will also include setting up of a Solar City Cell in the City Council which will have Senior Administrator and City Engineers for planning and implementation. A Solar City Stakeholders Committee will be set up for advisory support involving representation from elected representatives in the municipal bodies, local research and academic institutions, resident welfare associations, industries and corporate organizations, NGOs, State Nodal Agencies and other relevant stakeholders.
Solar Cities Programme in US
Through the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar America Cities partnership, 25 major U.S. cities are working to accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies for a cleaner, more secure energy future. The Solar America Cities program has engaged over 180 organizations, including municipal, county, and state agencies, solar companies, universities, utilities, and non-profit organizations. These partners have made a commitment to power their cities with clean, safe, reliable energy -- solar energy. Refer: http://www.solaramericacities.energy.gov/
Cities across the country are realizing the benefits of solar energy:
- Power from secure, domestic energy
- Sustainable, "green" urban development
- Clean energy production that helps meet greenhouse gas reduction targets and climate change goals
- Development of new economic opportunities
The city solar partnerships have committed to developing a sustainable solar infrastructure that removes market barriers and encourages the adoption of solar energy by residents and businesses. These cities are taking a comprehensive, city-wide approach that lays the foundation for a viable solar market and provides a model for other cities to follow
Solar Cities in Australia
Solar Cities is an Australian Government initiative that assists whole communities to rethink the way they use and produce energy. Governments and industry work with communities in the program to trial solar technologies, energy efficiency measures, pricing arrangements and metering technologies.
Australia's seven Solar Cities are located in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Blacktown, Central Victoria, Moreland, Perth and Townsville. The program continues until 2013.
Dezhou - The Solar City in China
The 4th International Solar Cities Congress will be held in Dezhou, China in 2010 and will be held in a new conference centre that will source 95% of its energy needs from renewable energy and will feature a 5000 square meter area solar system, a solar desalination plant and a solar energy theme park. It promises to be an event not to be missed !
No doubt the city of Dezhou deserved to be the host of the an ISCI congress: The 4th International Solar Cities Congress takes place from 16 to 19 September 2010. The city of Dezhou with its China Solar Valley hosts several innovative industries making components for our solar future.
But their solar products are not only produced here, they are also applied throughout the city of Dezhou.
European Solar Cities Project
Each Solar City will integrate a unique combination of energy options such as energy efficiency measures for homes and businesses, the use of solar technologies, cost reflective pricing trials to reward people who use energy wisely, and community education about better energy usage in an increasingly energy-reliant world.
The information will be analysed to see how different members of a community can best reduce energy consumption, and how governments, industries and individuals can support wise energy use. In particular, the program aims to demonstrate the environmental and economic effects of combining cost reflective pricing with the widespread use of solar technology, energy efficiency and smart meters find out what barriers exist regarding energy efficiency, electricity demand management and the use of solar technology, among businesses and householders and test ways to deal with these barriers.
Most of the energy consumption is taking place in cities around the world and this will directely inject more carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere. So studying and analysing the energy consumption pattern at the city level is very important for reducing the emission of Green House Gases. Inclusion of more Renewable Energy Sources for electricirty generation and reducing the energy consumption by various energy conservation measures can be undertaken in each city for reducing the emission level. Thus each city can contribute in a greater way for the sake of humanity and I do hope that the concept of Solar City will contribute much for that.