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Demand for solar panels goes through roof after applications go digital

Ever since BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd) launched its online application for solar panel connections last September, there has been a rise in the number of applicants.

Published: 04th June 2019 06:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th June 2019 06:41 AM   |  A+A-

BESCOM launched the online application nine months back

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Ever since BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd) launched its online application for solar panel connections last September, there has been a rise in the number of applicants. 588 applications have come in, of which 250 have already been commissioned.BESCOM’s target as set by the state government is to have 1,200 megawatt solar roof top generation commissioned by 2022.

“So far, we have commissioned 106 megawatt. We will surely be able to reach the target. We are also working with consultants to popularise solar-generated electricity among people. The plan has to be chalked out this year,” said Sheela, General Manager, Demand Side Management of BESCOM. While the solar rooftop programme itself was launched in 2014, the online application came in only last year. Since then, there have been 59 applications from domestic consumers, which includes residential homes, apartments, government schools, colleges and hospitals. Officials say this figure is increasing. Of the total applications, 51 are from commercial establishments and 478 from industrial users.

“The capacity generation is more with industrial consumers owing to the size. However domestic consumers, especially residential ones are increasing,” Sheela added. Industries also benefit by saving on electricity bills and also end up earning, when they sell back power to the grid. The total commissioned solar rooftop units under BESCOM region is 1,500, from November 2014 to March 2019. The target set by the central government for Karnataka is 2400 megawatt, in total, from all ESCOMs by 2022.

According to sources, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission is likely to revise the tariff of solar power, as the current rate may be too expensive for ESCOMs that buy from consumers who supply excess power back to the grid.  It is likely that the rates will be revised from Rs 3.56 paise per unit to Rs 3.15 paise per unit.

“Some of the challenges when it comes to rooftop solar installation is a shadow-free area available on the roof. The investment cost has come down. Earlier people would pay Rs 1 lakh to generate 1-kilo watt. This cost has come down to Rs 40,000. However, finances are still a challenge. The generation also cannot be constant, as the peak sunshine is between 12 noon to 3 pm,” an official said.

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