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A Shining Beacon of Sustainability: Sanchi's Journey to Becoming India's First Solar City

Feb 07, 2024

In the heart of India, amidst its historical treasures and spiritual landmarks, a revolutionary transformation is taking place. Sanchi, renowned for its ancient stupas and Buddhist pilgrimage sites, is now poised to become the nation’s first solar city. This ambitious endeavor aims not only to meet the town’s power requirements but also to usher in a new era of sustainable energy practices.

Sanchi’s unique geographical location on the Tropic of Cancer gifts it with abundant sunlight throughout the year, making it the perfect canvas for the installation of solar panels. The concept of a “Solar City” goes beyond just harnessing solar energy; it’s about crafting a future where carbon emissions are reduced, and communities thrive sustainably.

At the core of this transformation lies the implementation of various solar energy strategies. The primary method involves the deployment of solar panels across rooftops. These panels, capable of converting sunlight into electricity, are set to power Sanchi and its surrounding areas. Notably, an 8 MW grid-connected solar plant is under construction within the city, alongside 3 MW and 5 MW solar plants in Nagauri and Gulgaon respectively, catering to the city’s electrical and agricultural needs.

This transformative endeavor extends beyond power generation. The cityscape now boasts solar street lights, garden lights, and high-mast lights. Solar trees stand tall, providing shade and clean energy, while solar drinking water kiosks offer filtered, chilled water. Public transport has embraced the green movement, with battery-operated e-rickshaws and electric garbage vans traversing Sanchi’s streets.

To make this transformation comprehensive, households have adopted energy-saving technologies like LED bulbs, energy-efficient tube lights, and BLDC fans. The impact of these changes is staggering: Sanchi, which requires three million units of energy annually, generates 8 MW through its solar plant. Over 300 solar street lights illuminate its paths, while renewable water kiosks cater to both the town’s energy and heritage.

The ripple effects are profound. Approximately 13,747 tons of carbon emissions will be curbed, equivalent to the impact of 2.3 lakh trees. The economic savings are tangible, surpassing Rs. 7 crores in energy-related expenses for government and organizations. Moreover, the reduction in monthly energy bills promises relief to households and a more inclusive urban landscape.

In fostering a culture of sustainable energy, Sanchi organized door-to-door campaigns to educate its citizens about energy and energy-saving practices. This initiative has certified over 6,780 participants in the “Urja Saksharata Abhiyan,” ensuring that more than 95% of eligible residents are well-informed advocates of green energy.

But the significance of Sanchi’s solar city project transcends its boundaries. It symbolizes India’s resolve to curb its carbon footprint and embrace sustainable development. This pioneering project, meticulously designed for replication, serves as a guiding light for other Indian cities. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy envisions a future where these initiatives proliferate, fostering a greener, healthier planet for generations to come.

As the sun sets over Sanchi’s ancient stupas, a new dawn emerges – one powered by clean energy, driven by sustainability, and inspiring the nation to embrace a brighter, greener future.