Go solar is now the catchword among many. The long hours of power cut has prompted several households to go in for the system.

R.R. Balasundaram, who runs an industry In Coimbatore, has installed a 1.2 kilo watt (KW) solar photovoltaic system at his house seven months ago. Later, he augmented it with another 0.4 KW.

The 12 solar panels on the rooftop of his house and six batteries had cost him Rs. 2.5 lakh. He had connected lights, fans, television, computer, mixer-grinder and washing machine to the system. Besides, there was a separate solar water heater. Only an air-conditioner and a refrigerator were not covered.

“The bi-monthly consumption of electricity has gone down to about 300 units from 700 units. I am paying at least 50 per cent less than what I was paying earlier,” he says.

“When there is no power supply during the evening or night, I still watch the television. The power comes from the batteries that store the solar energy. The batteries carry a guarantee for five years. We need to clean the panels once a week or if it rains, just once a month,” he adds.

Some months ago, K.V. Kuppusamy, chairman of RVS educational institutions here, installed the system at his house. Satisfied with it, he was planning to have 600 KW of solar system in the premises of his six educational institutions. “Though the capital cost is high, subsidies are available and you are assured of 24 hour power supply,” he says.

Non-availability of dedicated feeders discourages private colleges from opting to wind power as they do not get much relief during load shedding. But, solar panels provide instant relief, says Mr. Kuppusamy. Yet, there are persons such as M. Kandasamy, an industrialist, having reservations over the utility of solar power. “I spoke to some suppliers and they say solar is not that attractive for houses. I have to study the installed systems before taking a decision,” he says.