According to reports, powerloom weavers in Somanur and nearby areas are exploring options that will give them financial support to go in for solar energy.
P. Kumarasamy, secretary of the Coimbatore District Job Working Powerloom Unit Owners’ Association, told The Hindu on Wednesday that just a handful of powerloom weavers in the district have installed solar panels. A unit with 10 looms requires five kw solar system. The cost for this works out to Rs. 6.5 lakh.
The association organised a meeting a few weeks ago to create awareness on solar energy and several weavers had expressed willingness to go in for solar systems. Canara Bank had come forward to extend loans to the units interested in the project.
However, the units are reluctant now as they will not be able to pay higher margin money and are unsure if they will be able to repay the huge loan amount. “The weavers will be able to go in for solar projects if the solar systems are available at Rs. 4 lakh for 5 kw,” he said. The association plans to approach the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development and the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency for assistance, he said.
Further, with availability of wind energy in the State for the last four months, power cuts have reduced and the units are not using the diesel generator sets.
Solar systems will be economical compared to use of generators. If the power cuts increase to several hours a day, as last year, then the units might have to go in for solar, he said.
Usually, orders are low for powerloom units in the district between August and November (till Deepavali) and will start picking up after that for the Pongal season. The units are not willing to invest now in solar projects as the cost is high, grid power is available and there is a slowdown in orders.