KATHMANDU, Dec 18: Harnessing solar energy could halve load shedding hours and provide impetus to development activities without creating much of a financial burden on the poor, say experts.
“Load-shedding hours could be halved immediately,” stated Dr Govindaraj Pokharel, executive director of alternative energy promotion center (APEC). “Moreover, we don´t need to make the poor people pay for this.”
According to Pokharel, though solar panels require good investment, it turns out to be cost effective in the long run and is also environment friendly. “It is not difficult for the well-off people in the capital to invest between Rs 50,000 to Rs 100,000 to install solar photovoltaic (PV) system, which will enable them to light up around five rooms, run TV and computer easily. If they largely depend on solar energy instead of invertors, the saved energy would suffice for the poor,” he said.
Pokharel further added that over 150,000 households and 10,000 business houses in Kathmandu have inverters that consume double energy. “People could be encouraged to install solar panels if they are given loan, provided other incentives and tax exemption.”
Former chief of Climate Change Division Batu Krishna Upreti said the only alternative to getting rid of load shedding in the current situation is harnessing solar energy. “The solar panels are not that expensive,” he said. According to him, the government should manufacture solar panels and batteries and impose heavy taxes on import of inverters.
Similarly, Raju Laurade, assistant director and climate carbon manager at APEC adds that the only reason inverters are becoming popular is due to government´s lack of vision. “So far we have a policy of providing 40 percent subsidy on solar PV in the rural areas. But now we need to provide subsidy even in the urban areas,” he said. He added that India and China, among others, have increasingly been tapping solar power for development. “We need to learn from them.”