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Poor awareness hampers switch to solar power in Madurai

According to reports, the suppliers approved by the nodal agency for promotion of renewable energy in the state say that the efforts to promote solar energy among the public is hampered by low awareness. Many don’t know the gains of solar power and how to go about to install a solar system, if at all one likes to have one. As elsewhere, majority of the people in Madurai district do not even know where and who should be approached for the installation of solar power panels. The awareness is low even among the educated, say the approved suppliers.

After the Madurai corporation made solar panels mandatory for upcoming residential and commercials buildings within the city limits recently, the need to know about solar panel installation has come into fore. Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) has approved six agencies in Madurai for installing solar power systems.

R Anand, director of Ren Solar Energy Solutions, said people should be educated on renewable energy. Both the central and state governments have been providing support and subsidy for solar panel installation in residential as well as commercial institutions. The approved agencies would install the solar panels on the receipt of payment from customers. Customers need to pay only an amount 30% less than the original price of the equipment as central government subsidy provides 30% subsidy. However, Rs 20,000 subsidy announced by the state government recently is yet to come into force.

Dr M Srinivasan of A R Solar Energy in K K Nagar said: “We would calculate the energy requirement of the building and based on it the required capacity of solar panel would be suggested.”

A minimum of one KW solar system should be installed to get subsidy from the governments. The power produced from 1kW panel is enough to meet the requirement of a household throughout the day, whereas the saved energy in the battery would be enough to utilize it for four hours at night. The initial cost for installing 1kW would be around Rs 2.2 lakh. The customer will have to pay around Rs 1.1 lakh after the government subsidies. Solar panels can produce up to 60% of its capacity even during rainy and cloudy days. Although, solar panel installation is profitable in the long run very less number of persons are approaching for the installation due to lack of awareness, he said.

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