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Tamil Nadu highrises will have to meet 2% of energy needs from solar

According to reports, with the ever increasing power deficit taking a toll on the economy, the Tamil Nadu government is planning to make it mandatory for major industries, high-rise apartment complexes, major institutions and hotels to meet 2% of their energy needs from solar source.

State environment minister B V Ramana said this on the sidelines of a meeting with the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officials here on Monday. He said the environment department was debating the proposal, and it would be rolled out as a green initiative.

The proposal may lessen the burden on the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, given the wide gap of 4,000 MW between demand and supply. Unable to supply power, the TNEB is imposing up to 12 hours of power cut in many rural areas. “Solar system is cost intensive. Unless developers are given subsidies, it cannot be promoted. Only the end-user has to bear the cost,” said Prakash Challa, MD, SSPDL, a city based builder.

A one KW solar panel with battery costs 2.3 lakh and generates four units a day. A similar unit without battery costs 1.2 lakh and generates five units.

“Given the high-cost of running generators (Rs 14 per unit), industries will prefer solar energy,” said V Sriram, an entrepreneur, who has made considerable investments in solar sector. Solar energy costs only Rs 10 per unit, he said.

Since the government is working on a new solar policy, there would be large-scale investment in the sector in the coming years, said an official. It may also result in drastic fall in the cost of solar panels owing to tough competition, he noted.

The Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation is already working on a plan to promote solar parks with the help of private firms. “Enquiries are pouring in and in anticipation of a new policy, promoters are purchasing large area of land in southern districts of Tamil Nadu,” said a senior government official. About five acres of land is required to generate one MW of solar energy.

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