Solar speed-breaks

Our earlier post – Some solar facts – needs to be read with this one,  to get a sense of why we have problem meeting our solar aspirations.

Vendors at the Chennai expo on renewable energy organised by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) quoted between Rs.1.6 lakh and Rs.1.8 lakh, for putting up a 1 KW (kilowatt) domestic rooftop solar power system.

The handing out of the Central Government subsidy has not yet been streamlined. “Several solar power vendors have closed operations over the past year because of losses suffered in not getting the Central government subsidy’’, says K.E.Ragunaathan, solar energy entrepreneurs who started Solkar’s in 1984.

At times poor battery packs are being sold because battery prices have shot up over the past year even though solar photovoltaic panel costs have come down.

Says Mr Ragunaathan “State government levies a VAT (value-added tax) component of 5 per cent on solar power components. Where is the incentive for the consumer to opt for solar inverter, if the regular electric inverter is also taxed at five per cent ? If the tax component is cut or waived, it would bring down the entry price for solar.”

Kerala had last year targeted to move 10,000 households to solar power, with each household accounting for a 1 KW rooftop power system. They reduced the VAT on solar power to one per cent.

Source: ‘The Price goes through the roof’, The Hindu write-up by Karthik Subramaniam

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