The Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) expects to start work on a 2-MW solar power plant at Kuzhalmannam in Palakkad this year. ANERT director M. Jayaraju told The Hindu on Saturday that the plant, estimated to cost Rs.24 crore, would come up on 13 acres. "The power generated by the plant will be fed into the KSEB grid. Since the land is in our possession, we expect no hurdles to the project."
The falling price of solar panels, he said, was expected to bring down the estimated cost.
Earlier, talking to the media, Dr. Jayaraju said ANERT was launching a State-wide project to equip 10,000 houses with rooftop solar power plants of 1 kW capacity. Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah would launch the programme at Thiruvananthapuram on 11-02-2013.
To be executed with financial assistance from the Union government, the programme would generate a total of 10 MW and produce about 1 crore units of power every year to bridge the demand-supply gap in the State's power sector.
Dr. Jayaraju said the off-grid solar photovoltaic (SPV) plants would obviate the problem of transmission loss and ensure round-the-clock uninterrupted power supply, while saving 100 to 120 units of electricity every month. Each unit with solar panels, battery bank, and inverter would cost Rs.1.77 lakh to Rs.2.05 lakh. Beneficiaries would be eligible for a combined State-Central subsidy of Rs.92,262.
Dr. Jayaraju said the system would have a warranty of five years. ANERT, he said, had approved 15 agencies to implement the scheme.
He added that a grid-fed system that would obviate the need for storage batteries was expected to be in place within the next five years.
The batteries take up 40 per cent of the cost of an off-grid solar power plant, he said.
"We will have to overcome grid stability and administering problems. Once that is done, the feeding tariff can be fixed," Dr. Jayaraju said.