With the hike in electricity tariffs for domestic and other categories that took effect recently, consumer interest in renewable sources of energy such as solar power is expected to rise in the coming days, even though it may not replace the conventional grid, say industry players in the city.
“Not many are aware of the benefits of solar technology in Tiruchi, but this is slowly changing as people are consciously choosing to go green and include it as one of the many aspects of an eco-friendly home or office,” D. Karthik, senior manager, Aatral Solutions India told The Hindu.
The company deals in solar-power goods such as invertors, water pumps, batteries and rooftop panels, besides commercial and industrial installations.
In the domestic sector, home appliances such as solar-powered water heaters are quite popular, despite their higher price, said the official. “A solar heater costs ₹14,000 while electrical versions cost only around ₹4,000. However the power consumption in terms of units is much higher in electrical heaters, so it is cheaper in the long run to opt for solar appliances,” he said.
Mr. Karthik added that solar power projects had been more widespread in industries than homes. “While domestic solar power generation tends to wane after daytime, industrial solar units work through the day, with hybrid recharging solutions,” he said.
However a rise in electricity tariffs will not trigger a mass migration to renewable energy.
“Solar gadgets and power solutions have been in the market for quite some time now, but even a tariff rise will not prompt the consumer to change over until they see the cumulative effect of spending more on electricity every month,” S. Loganathan, proprietor, Trichy’s Electronics said.
The store caters to buyers from rural areas, specialising in solar powered light fittings, phone chargers and TV connectivity. “Our customers are mostly from the farming sector, and want gadgets that help them with their daily tasks such as animal husbandry and irrigation,” Mr. Loganathan said.
The solar powered products are priced at ₹2,000 and above, with Mr. Loganathan providing repair services as well.
Despite being more eco-friendly than conventional electricity, solar power products have suffered from a lack of adequate customer support, say consumers. “This situation has begun to change as dealers are making an effort to improve the after-sales service. Renewable energy like solar power cannot replace fossil fuel-based electricity generation, but is a useful addition to the existing system,” said Mr. Karthik.