Energy Transitions

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24th February, 2023

Solar Rooftop Systems and the Urban Transition: Shall the Twain Ever Meet? Interrogations from Rewari, India

Marie-Hélène Zérah and Sarada Prasanna Das

Summary

India is facing two major transitions. In 2040, its energy demand will double while 800 million Indians will live in cities by 2050. Situated at this intersection, this article contributes to the field of urban energy research by looking at Solar Rooftop Systems (SRS) in a district located in the extended periphery of Delhi. Using a multi-pronged qualitative methodology in a corridor made of villages and small towns, we argue that public policies are framed applying a rigid territorial grid opposing urban and rural, ignoring the motivations of both residential and professional users, which are not bounded by the rural/urban binary. This disjunction explains that renewable energy does not lead to a new imagination of urban and energy systems. These two fields remain disconnected while solar energy fuels consumption and the city expansion in its peripheries. Finally, the observed variegated urban energy landscapes (UEL) embody a land and energy intensive form of urban growth.

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