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Solar-powered systems to cost less in Kerala

According to reports, if you want to invest in  solar power, now is the time. The union ministry of new and renewable energy, in association with Nabard (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development), has revamped its 2011 subsidy scheme to promote the usage of solar-powered lighting systems in the state.

Under the revised format, Nabard has increased the subsidy to 40% from the previous 30%, for the capital subsidy-cum-refinance scheme to install photovoltaic and thermal systems for individual homes, both in rural and urban areas.

However, those individuals who want to avail themselves of the government subsidy will have to get a loan from scheduled commercial banks and regional rural banks to set up the systems as Nabard will route the subsidy only through banks.

Nabard Thiruvananthapuram deputy general manager G Janaki says the scheme is expected to further boost the preference of Kerala towards solar-powered applications. The solar-powered systems have been attracting a lot of consumers in the state, since the scheme was introduced last year under the  Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

“We are just an implementing body. Nabard has noted an increase in preference for solar-powered applications, particularly from  the middle class of Kerala. The maximum subsidy will be 40% and the models could be home lighting systems or inverter-based systems. The amount for the scheme is delivered only through banks as we want to ensure that even the poorest in society benefit out of the scheme. Depending on the watt capacity, which ranges from 10-watt to 210-watt systems, a consumer can get a maximum subsidy of Rs 22,680,” says Janaki.

Routing of subsidy through banks will also ensure its reach to eligible persons, she says.

“We have noticed an increasing preference towards solar-powered systems. But the increase in battery cost and maintenance charge make Malayalis a bit hesitant to invest in  solar energy,” says Anish S Prasad, technical official with Anert (Agency for non-conventional energy and rural technology), a central nodal agency for implementing solar systems.

“However, increasing electricity charge is forcing many to opt for renewable energy,” he says.

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