BENGALURU : While solar energy may be free, harnessing it is still heavy on the pocket. As per official statistics, only 148 domestic consumers and 79 commercial and industrial consumers have applied online for setting up solar PV plants on their rooftops since September last year, which is when Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) launched an online application for consumers looking to install solar power generation panels on their rooftops. The user-friendly technology was aimed at encouraging more solar power installation and at cutting down the time and manual effort. It, however, has not sparked a huge interest among consumers yet.
Experts believe that it is still an expensive option and may not be feasible, especially for home owners, and perhaps with time, the initiative will see more takers. “The facility was launched only in September 2018.
227 applications is a good number in such a short time. Apart from the online application, 1,700 consumers have applied manually. The number will rise as time passes,” said G Sheela, deputy general manager, Demand Side Management, BESCOM.
She further explained that the tariff paid to consumers who sell the power back to the grid is low: Around `3.50 per unit, as per Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission. “If a homeowner installs one kilo watt of solar power cells on their rooftop, they will have to spend `60,000 per kilo watt.
This will generate an average of 120 units per month. With several home appliances like fridge and AC, a house will need 500 to 600 units per month. This means, the consumer will have to buy the remaining units from BESCOM again, making it economically unsustainable,” said energy expert MG Prabhakar.
Should the consumer install three to five kilo watt on their rooftop and generate enough excess energy, to sell it back to the grid, it will still not be economical, he opined.“The tariff rates are too low for the consumer. Even if a homeowner installs 10 kilo watt, he/she will spend `6 lakh per kilo watt. When they sell it to the grid, they will earn only `60,000 in return,” he added.