The solar industry received a little shock when the Mumbai Municipality body, BMC, approved the policy of allowing Hotels and commercial buildings in Mumbai to house roof top eateries.
The requirement for licenses, like that for serving liquor, will be the same as for bars and restaurants. Rooftops of hotels that have consumed their FSI (floor-space index) cannot do any construction or cooking but can use the rooftop only as serving areas.
The hospitality experts have welcomed the decision, saying that in a city where scenic views of the sea can be had from high-rises, rooftop restaurants will boost tourism and rejuvenate the hotel industry. But for the solar industry, such policies can initiate a negative trend of converting rooftops into commercial properties, thereby creating a valuation on such areas.
With such a policy, hotel and commercial rooftop owners may find it more attractive to initiate business on rooftops rather than use solar to save on electricity costs.
What would have been more encouraging is that BMC could have asked for a raised solar structure on the hotel rooftop, below which a commercial eatery can be started. This could be a positive for both the sectors– restaurants and also solar.
Though solar is not so needed in terms of access to electricity for Mumbai buildings, commercial [including hotels] are looking at solar on rooftops to cut their electricity costs, which has been rising steadily over the last few years.
News source: Times of India