Work is underway on a war footing to develop Ayodhya as Uttar Pradesh’s first “solar city” ahead of the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple, likely to be in January. The Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Department (UPNEDA) has undertaken the task to develop the temple town into the state’s first “solar city”, officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and about 10,000 dignitaries from across the country are expected to attend the “pran pratishtha (consecration)” ceremony, likely to be held on January 22, Ram Temple Construction Committee Chairperson Nripendra Mishra said. Officials said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is personally monitoring the ongoing work in Ayodhya.
After inspecting the work to electrify the temple town with solar power in May, the chief minister said, “Ayodhya is the capital of Suryavansh. So, here, electricity will come not from other sources but from renewable solar energy.” The plan entails developing a solar park along the banks of the Saryu, providing solar-powered boats, installing solar streetlights, adoption of solar energy sources in public transport, providing solar-powered amenities such as mobile charging points at public places along with electrification of government buildings using solar energy and improving penetration of solar power for domestic use.
Senior government officials said the project is part of Uttar Pradesh’s ambitious Solar Energy Policy 2022. An important aspect of the plan is to develop 16 municipal corporations and Noida as “solar cities”.
“The plan is to develop Ayodhya as the model for the solar city project and use the learnings in the implementation of solar policies in other proposed cities,” UPNEDA Director Anupam Shukla told PTI.
While the solar city project is a five-year plan (2023-28), facilities such as streetlights, installation of solar panels at government buildings, e-rickshaws
with charging stations, solar trees and solar energy-powered purifiers for drinking water kiosks are to be covered in the first phase.
“We are confident that most of the ongoing projects in Ayodhya will be completed by January,” said Shukla. The biggest aspect of the project is the installation of a 40 MW solar plant on the banks of the Saryu, to be established by NTPC Green. The commissioning of 10 MW of the project is expected by January.
The land for the project has been finalised and work is already underway, UPNEDA officials confirmed. The work also includes installing solar panels on the rooftops of 117 government buildings, totalling 2.5 MW. This includes a 250 kW solar panel installed at RML Awadh University, a 155 kW panel at Agriculture University, a 100 kW capacity panel at the district court, a 58 kW panel at Ram Katha Museum and 50 kW panels at different government secondary schools.
The authorities have also set a target to establish solar power with a capacity of 6 MW on 125 residential and commercial buildings. UPNEDA has already installed 134 solar smart streetlights designed specifically for Ayodhya by Philips. The remaining 276 will be installed shortly. These streetlights come with a modular design where the battery is fitted inside the pole with the solar panel on the top, the officials said.
The solar streetlights will be installed along the famous Ram Path — the 12.9-kilometre, six-lane road that leads to the temple from Sahadatganj on the Lucknow-Ayodhya National Highway and up to the Lata Mangeshkar Chowk in the Nayaghat area. This apart, 800 solar streetlights have also been installed in the city.
Forty solar trees of 1 kW capacity and 18 of 2.5 kW capacity are being installed at various places. These solar trees will have solar panels in branch-like structures with LED lights. The branch-like panels will also provide shade and can be installed over small drinking water kiosks or benches, said the officials.