Thane solar city

Posted on 04 November 2015

Solar power fuels low carbon development

Solar power fuels low carbon development

Since 2006, Thane, India's 2015 Earth Hour National Capital, has mandated installations of solar water heaters in new buildings, and offered 10% tax rebates for installations in existing residential buildings. It is one of several actions aiming for a 6% increase in renewable energy and 7% increase in energy efficiency between 2010 and 2015. Thane is also a pilot solar city in India´ Solar City Programme and a model city in ICLEIs Urban LEDS program.

Thane was awarded the title Global Earth Hour Capital in Earth Hour City Challenge 2015
Keywords: Solar City Programme, solar water heaters, tax rebates, waste to energy, Urban LEDS

As one of the fast growing cities in India, Thane has the potential to serve as a role model for other cities. As part of the Mumbai urban agglomeration, Thane has a population of almost 2 million people, with a decadal growth rate of more than 50%, putting pressure on land and natural resources.

An array of solar projects

In 2000 Thane started to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. The solar water heater ordinance was issued in 2006, and has led to an increase in installations (see also Barcelona). By 2012, Thane had solar water heaters with a combined capacity of more than 2 million liters per day (LPD), equivalent to approximately 20,000 small panels. In addition, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) installed solar water heaters on hospitals and municipal buildings with a combined capacity of more than 100,000 LPD. Solar water heaters have great potential for energy savings in Thane and other Indian cities with their lower upfront costs (see also Rizhao).

Thane has also invested in wind-solar hybrid systems and solar PVs for lighting & air-conditioning. It has built a 160 ton solar air conditioning plant and a 15 ton biomethanation plant, as well as solar PVs at municipal buildings. In the pipeline is a larger solar PV project, introducing net-metering, and a larger waste to energy project, that alone would meet the energy saving target of the solar city project.

India´s solar city programme

Thane is designated as one of 15 "pilot solar cities" in India´s Solar City Programme, which includes 60 cities (see also Coimbatore). Thane has drafted a Solar City Master Plan, that has been approved by India´s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and which contains a number of renewables and energy efficiency strategies. It gives priority to investments in solar water heaters, because of their great potential for energy savings and low upfront costs. Thane is in the process of launching the program. The Indian government assists cities with funding of 50% of the costs for preparing the master plan, and provides a smaller grant to support the rest of a city´s program.

Energy efficiency under UrbanLEDS

Thane has also completed several energy efficiency projects, including retrofits of municipal buildings, schools and hospitals. As one of 8 model cities in the program Low Emission Urban Development Strategies in Emerging Economy Countries (UrbanLEDS) 2012-2015, funded by the European Commission, and implemented by UN-Habitat and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, Thane has pioneered a low emission development model with the aim of creating good practices for replication globally. In cooperation with ICLEI South Asia, TMC produced a baseline GHG Emission Inventory and Energy Status Report, and launched 5 pilot projects, consisting of:
  • A LED retrofitting project of streetlights with an Energy Service Company,
  • Installation of LED lights in selected slum areas,
  • A Drivers Training Program for Thane Municipal Transport department, improving fuel efficiency by nearly 13%,
  • An Awareness programme on climate change and low carbon practices in schools, and
  • Low emission measures in a municipal school, serving as a laboratory for students and other schools. 

Street lighting replicable project

Since street lighting account for nearly 40% of TMCs electricity consumption, switching to LEDs is saving both money and carbon (see also Los Angeles). TMC has done an energy audit and identified 10,000 out of Thane´s 70,000 streetlights to be replaced. Energy use will potentially be reduced by 60%. The project will use an energy performance contract model, through the involvement of an Energy Service Company that can guarantee savings and help Thane find financing. This makes the project easier to replicate in other cities.

Thane Municipal Government has many other projects for a more sustainable urban future in the pipeline, including a green building policy, regular energy audits, mass transport system improvements, pedestrian friendly green footpaths and a water front development project.



ICLEI, “Thane's journey so far in transition to low emission development”,

Urban LEDS, “About Thane”,

Thane Municipal Corporation, “Thane City Energy & Carbon Emission Report”,

Thane Municipal Corporation, “Development of Thane Solar City – Final Master Plan”,

Pote, Sunil, Thane Municipal Corporation, “Promoting Low Carbon Emitting Cities”,

Thane Municipal Corporation, “Environment Status Report 2012”,

carbonn Climate Registry, City Climate Report: City of Thane,

Text by: Martin Jacobson

Thane local railway station
© City of Thane
Map - Thane solar city (Urban solutions)
Dr. Kashinath Auditorium
© City of Thane
Talao Pali Lake
© City of Thane