KOLKATA, 27 MAY: The state environment department today issued a notification making illumination of billboards and hoardings by solar power mandatory throughout the state from 5 June, the World Environment Day.
The notification, in conformity with National Action Plan on climate change and under Environment (Protection) Act and Rules, has been issued to control the greenhouse gas emissions.
The move is to check energy wastage since the billboards are kept on even during night when there is no one to look at them. More than 1.5 KW to 5 KW of energy can be saved per billboard depending on the size. A 5 KW billboard consumes 15 litre diesel.
Mr Biswajit Mukherjee, senior law officer of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board, said: “After 5 June, installation of billboards and hoardings without solar energy will not be allowed. Electricity supply authorities have been directed not to give electrical connection to such billboards and hoardings from 5 June. During power cuts, generators should not be used and we have asked police authorities to see that the order is complied with. Existing billboards will have to switch over to solar power by December. If they continue to use diesel then their licence will not be renewed.”
After 5 June, a meet will be held with the Municipal Corporation and they will be instructed how to implement the order, he added.
“Bangalore and New Delhi have already adopted this and we have been trying to start this in West Bengal. A few advertising agencies had come forward but since the initial expenditure is a bit high, it was difficult to convince business houses,” said Mr SP Gon Chowdhury, CEO of WB Green Energy Development Corporation Ltd.
India has a capacity to generate 800 MW of solar power in which West Bengal contributes 160 MW. A chunk is exported to other countries.
“The state has enough infrastructure to provide solar panels and photovoltaic cells will be put up in all billboards and hoardings across the state. Five companies in the state are manufacturing cells and modules and by October, we will have the capacity to generate 185 MW of solar power,” Mr Gon Chowdhury said. Solar powered billboards and hoardings will have a small panel attached on the top and a compact maintenance free battery at the bottom.