Rooftop solar power programme launched

The world is looking to India for ideas to capture solar energy to fuel development, according to Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy.

He said this while inaugurating the State’s off-grid rooftop solar power programme in which 10,000 households are involved initially.

SOLAR IS FUTURE

Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT), Kerala, an autonomous body under the department of power, is spearheading the programme.

Many of the countries are willing to join our efforts at harnessing this giant source of energy, the Union Minister said. Scientists across the country and outside are working on ways to store solar energy in a meaningfully economical manner.

“We’re all hoping that we’ll soon succeed in finding a solution,” Abdullah said. This is a challenge we have to take head-on. “Solar energy is out future. It is rather the future of the world.”

He expressed happiness that all States are working hard towards this. Rajasthan has gone a long way forward.

FOREIGN COAL

The Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Power Mission aims to generate 20,000 MW of grid-connected solar power by 2022. Abdullah said that adequate availability of power has implications for not just the general economy and industry but also for jobs.

And this is exactly why the country has been sourcing expensive coal from origins as South Africa, Australia and Indonesia. “We must focus on trapping clean energy not just from sun but also from wind, geothermal sources and even sea.”

This would help reduce our reliance on fossil and other non-renewable energy sources and temper global warming threat. In his address, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that rooftop solar power programme was the most ideal solution for the State.

Kerala used to be a power-surplus State in the 1970s and early 1980s but environmental concerns have reversed the situation. This is because hydroelectric power stations have since come to be associated with massive implications for the environment.

LESS LAND

Unlike other State, Kerala does not have the land to spare to house massive solar photovoltaic plants that stand on acres and acres. Given the circumstances, rooftop solar power programme has been found to be the most practicable solution.

“The rooftop solar power programme is the first step in the long march towards attaining self-sufficiency in power,” Chandy said.

Speaking on the occasion, electricity minister Aryadan Mohammed said that the programme has elicited good response from people.

ANERT has received ‘some 5,000 applications, he said. “We expect to get even more going forward.”

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 11, 2013)
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