More consumers are keen on upgrading to solar panels for power supply at home, but non-implementation of the subsidy policy announced by the government is a dampener, say traders here.

The government on October 2013 issued an order stating that a capital subsidy of Rs.20,000 would be available for each 1 kW solar rooftop system. The order is yet to be implemented.

“Business is very dull. A large number of people call us to install solar panels in their homes. When they get to know that the subsidy scheme has not been implemented yet, they drop the plan,” says R.S. Mani, CEO of Solid Solar here.

“Traders like me can provide only two to five per cent discount to consumers. Only the implementation of the government subsidy scheme could spread use of solar power,” he adds.

High cost

The cost of installing rooftop solar panels and their maintenance is high, say traders. “About 80 to 85 per cent of houses in Madurai have inverters. Only around two to three per cent of the population has opted for solar power so far,” says B. Palanivelrajan, an inverter and computer sales and service person.

Inverters, whether branded or assembled, generally cost around Rs.20,000, whereas installing solar panels initially could cost even a few lakh, he adds.

An official of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) says implementing the subsidy scheme is the need of the hour.

“The demand for power has shot up by at least 25 million units in the recent days, and it is bound to increase more in the coming months. The hydropower generation and wind power generation have dropped drastically in the recent days,” he says.

The State is largely relying on power supply imported through the Central Grid and the Eastern Grid sector, he adds.

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