The sun may be nature's measureless bounty, but the government feels a little help from spiritual gurus can go a long way in making mortals realise its value.
In a bid to promote its target of creating 40,000MW of rooftop solar power capacity, the Union new and renewable energy ministry is roping in religious and interfaith gurus to demonstrate the virtues of green energy and set an example by ensuring that their ashrams are solar powered, a top government official said.
According to new and renewable energy secretary Upendra Tripathi, the gurus will act as spiritual partners of International Solar Alliance, a global grouping of over
100 'sunshine countries' between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn that was launched by PM Modi at the Paris climate summit last December.
"Spiritual and interfaith gurus have a large number of domestic and overseas followers who visit their 'ashrams' (hermitages), or meditation centers’, in big numbers.
So, we feel the gurus are ideally placed to showcase and demonstrate the values and virtues of solar energy to a global audience," Tripathi said.
According to the government, in May, Radha Soami Dera in Amritsar became the world's largest single rooftop solar power facility. The dera's Rs 140 crore solar energy system, spread over more than 80 acres of rooftops, can generate an estimated 19MW of power.
Not all ashrams are as large or resourceful, but even smaller ones with a few acres of land can use practical solar energy applications. Besides, solar power projects require open spaces for making best use of photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight into electricity.