KOCHI: Contrary to last year's heavy rains, the Indian Meteorological Department recorded a 37 per cent rainfall deficit, as per the recent data. As the state's electricity generation is largely hydroelectric, the lack of rains is proving to be a buzzkill. While the quest for alternative measures to generate electricity is higher than ever, the district, especially Kochi, is seeing a rise in takers for solar power.
According to the data with the Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT), 1,856 kW of solar power was generated in Ernakulam district from April 2017 to June this year. "While this is on-grid power generated by over 250 consumers, 263 kW of solar power was generated off-grid by 222 consumers," says an official with ANERT.
ALSO READ: CIAL to set up floating solar power panels
This is an increase from the 1,334 kW generated on-grid by 233 consumers in the 2016-'17 financial year. And a total of 476 kW of solar power was generated off-grid by 258 consumers in the same year. Furthermore, the introduction of the Kerala State Electricity Board's (KSEB) ambitious Soura Project of the Oorja Mission saw a huge number of applicants for solar panel installations.
"Though the tendering process is yet to begin, the district observed a 2.5 times increase in applications for solar panel installations than what was expected," says S R Anand, Deputy Chief Engineer, Ernakulam Electrical Circle, KSEB.
Though the statistics clearly show that a lot of people are inclined to switch to renewable power, the KSEB official says most of them don't take the technical capability of their rooftop and economic feasibility into consideration.
According to International Renewable Energy Agency's recent report titled 'Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018', India was estimated to have "the lowest total cost for new utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects." Compared to solar projects commissioned in 2017, the total cost was 27 per cent lower for those in 2018. "As the demand has increased for solar installation, the cost has come down to a highly economic feasible level.
While some feel the initial investment is high, considering the long durability of solar panels, which is 25 years of design life, it is financially advisable to switch to solar power installation," says K C Jose of KC Kopar Energy Solutions Pvt Ltd, which operates the solar project at Cochin International Airport Ltd.