The New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP) is trying to popularise small roof-top solar systems in the domestic sector by emphasizing on the importance of energy savings and recovery of investments.
Through roof-top systems, people can tap the solar energy which is available in abundance (for 11 months in a year) and contribute any excess power to the State’s electricity grid. Awareness is being spread about that and it is yet to catch the fancy of consumers, said NREDCAP District Manager K. Srinivas.
A 3-KW roof-top solar system costs about Rs.1.50 lakh (excluding costs recoverable in the form of Central and State subsidies of Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively) and the intangible benefit it entails in the form of electricity (coal-based) saved is immense.
For instance, a household consuming 500 units of electricity drawn from the grid in a month will be charged Rs.4,500 at the rate of Rs.9 per unit. In this case, CO2 emissions at the macro-level are very high and there are many other costs incurred by the Government on coal-fired power.
Consumption of 15 units of solar energy per day (450 units per month) costs approximately Rs.4,500. The benefits are excess energy can be sent to the grid for cash credits given by AP-Transco once in six months. The value of energy saved is nearly Rs 55,000 per year at which rate the investment made in the solar system can be fully recovered in three years. The life of a good quality solar panel is 25 years during which the cost of maintenance is almost zero, and there is no question of environmental pollution it being ‘green power’. Besides, a roof-top solar system can be set up in just about 300 square feet.
According to official sources, the daily demand of electricity in Krishna district is over 10 million units and assuming that even if 20,000 households (10 per cent of the 2,00,000 households in Vijayawada city) consuming more than 15 units of electricity per day switch over to solar energy, 3 lakh units of power can be saved.
It is a substantial amount of energy saving given the exorbitant costs at which thermal energy is being generated in the State on the back of a steep increase of 10 per cent in coal imports in the last two to three years.
“The benefits of solar energy are thereby pretty clear and one need not have any apprehension. In fact, exploiting solar energy is a very good social responsibility activity”, Mr. Srinivas said.