A programme to have 10,000 off-grid solar homes in the State by the end of 2012-13 is expected to take off in a month.

The project, pending clearance with the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, is awaiting approval for release of money from the Central pool, said sources in the Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (Anert), which would oversee the implementation of the programme.

Sources said that the draft proposal for the programme has distributed the heavily subsidised solar homes equally among the districts, though the quota may be rearranged depending on the performance of the districts after the project is launched.

Five units a day

Once it is under way, those wishing to set up solar homes will get more than 50 per cent subsidy. Union and State governments will provide Rs.1.20 lakh of the total Rs.2 lakh to Rs.2.20 lakh needed to set up a single unit to generate 1 kW of power. The beneficiary contribution will be Rs.80,000 per unit. The programme, when completed, will generate 10 MW of power from roof-mounted and off-grid solar electric power systems. This represents five units of power per day for about 20 years.

Sources said that once the solar homes project takes off successfully, it will be imitated in Kerala and the target could be set higher in the following years. For instance, a target of one lakh solar homes can be achieved within a span of two to three years.

The numbers can go up to five lakh in five to six years as there is a tendency among people to imitate successful and cost-effective programmes.

Kerala would need the “solar miracle” considering that the price of energy is set to go up substantially in the coming years. Solar energy will be a great addition to the proposals for augmenting power generation.

The State plans to generate 1,050 MW of power from LNG in Kochi; 1,950 at the expanded facility at NTPC’s plant at Kayamkulam; 1,080 MW from the Cheemeni power generation facility; 1,000 MW from coal, the location for which is to be decided yet; 500 MW from small hydro-electric projects and 600 MW from wind energy farms.

  • Programme aims to have 10,000 off-grid solar homes

  • More than 50 per cent subsidy to be available