PUNE: The number of properties equipped with solar water heating systems has more than doubled in the last five years in the Pune civic limits, showed the latest Environmental Status Report of the municipal corporation.
While the number of properties with solar water heating systems stood at 29,000 in the year 2017-18, it surged to 58,000 in 2021-22, the report stated.
“The incentives offered by the civic authorities and the overall benefits like reduced electricity charges are helping more citizens warm up to green initiatives like using solar energy. The civic body wants to encourage more people to adopt eco-friendly systems for various purposes,” additional municipal commissioner Vilas Kanade, who was previously the head of the property tax department, said.
The civic body offers a 5% discount on property tax to residential property owners using either one of the environmental friendly methods, including vermicomposting, solar systems or rainwater harvesting. A maximum of 10% of tax rebate is given out for two of the three green initiatives. Mangesh Dighe, head of the environment cell, PMC, said, “Since 2014, it is mandatory for every project of over 20,000sqft to have a rooftop solar water heating system to get environment clearance. In addition to the individual incentive of rebates in the property tax, it brings down electricity consumption drastically. Even for smaller projects or individual houses, rooftop solar projects can be highly rewarding, with citizens able to recover the initial investment to set up the infrastructure within the first 4-5 years.”
As per the report, as many as 25,439 properties were equipped with solar water heating systems in the PMC limits in 2016-17. Activists said the citizens should take the initiative to adopt the green initiatives for a better future.
“The urge to set up such environment-friendly systems should come from citizens and PMC incentives should just be an added bonus and not the sole intention. In a country like India, we can take great advantage of the solar plants. The electricity consumption can be brought down drastically. Besides, the monetary benefits of such projects are also attractive,” environmentalist Sarang Yadwadkar said.
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