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Kerala : 10,000 Solar Rooftop Power-plant Program (MNRE & ANERT)

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  • Tuesday, 19 February 2013
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  • Rajesh K
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  • Kerala has initiated a unique and interesting scheme to promote solar energy over individual house-hold rooftops: The 10,000 Solar Rooftop power-plant program. This is a joint initiative of MNRE (Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Govt. of India) & ANERT (Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology, Govt. of Kerala). 

    Perhaps for the first time (among Indian states), an active/large-scale program to promote roof-top solar panel installation among residential/individual customers over their roof-tops, has been conceived and is being executed at the moment. Power cuts are the reality of the day in most Indian states and each state Govt. is trying to deal with this problem differently. Most of them are actively pursuing some program to promote renewable energy in their respective states. 

    The 10,000 rooftop power-plant program will carry a total subsidy of Rs. 92,262/- from MNRE & ANERT. ANERT has approved & empaneled certain vendors/installers and has published the list of companies that could supply & install solar panels/ accessories to customers, on their website. After deducting the subsidies, the cost for customers (1 KW solar module system, 1 KW inverter, 7200 WHr batteries) ranges from Rs. 85,000 to Rs. 1,27,000, depending on the vendor. These charges are inclusive of supply & on-site installation.

    This one kilowatt solar system can generate 4 units of power every day (approx). The systems approved in this scheme are off-grid systems and hence they will not be connected with the electrical grid. The agency says that off-grid systems will enable people to consume electricity at source (where it is produced) and hence will avoid transmission losses/additional connecting equipment. Since the batteries are provided, customers can store the electricity generated during the day and use it during nights. 

    Customers need at least 15 square meters of shade-free area to install solar panels & they also need some space to store batteries/inverters, etc. The solar panels come with a performance warranty of 25 years, but warranty for system failure/parts is around 5 years. 

    This scheme is limited to the first 10,000 applicants and the department had started accepting applications from Sep 2012. People can apply and the department will notify them (through an allotment letter) if they have been selected for this scheme. The installation has to be completed within three months from the date of receiving the allotment letter. 

    The Govt. aims to achieve a cumulative capacity of 10 MW and they also expect these systems to be operational for at least 5 years from the date of installation. These systems are expected to take off a considerable amount of demand for electrical load from the grid and hence will help the state avoid power-cuts/load-shedding in the future. 

    This is an excellent initiative by the Kerala state government, MNRE & ANERT. Let us hope that public will come forward to take advantage of this scheme and install solar PV systems on their rooftops very soon. Let us also hope that this program will be extended beyond the initial 10,000 systems & will be replicated in other states across India.

    Further Information: ANERT web-page
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