Despite Kerala’s solar innovations – from the world’s first solar airport to India’s largest floating solar power plant – the state has lagged behind much of the country in wider uptake of the renewable energy source.
Kerala sits in the middle of a ranking of India’s 28 states in terms of installed solar capacity, according to data from the country’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
To increase the wider adoption of solar the Kerala government has launched Soura (Sun) project which aims to install solar panels on 75,000 homes and thus will contribute 350 megawatts (MW) of power to the state’s grid.
Combined with the 20,000 houses that already put in solar panels under an earlier initiative, the new Soura project will help Kerala cover about 10% of its electricity needs through solar, according to KSEB, the state’s electricity board.
Soura offers a subsidy to encourage residents to sign up for the project and any surplus electricity the rooftop systems generate can be sold back to KSEB at a rate of 3 rupees per kilowatt hour.
KSEB figures show that about 30% of the electricity Kerala uses is produced in the state, with the rest brought in from other states or the national grid at a cost of about 80 billion rupees per year.
With more than 33 million residents, according to the latest census, Kerala is India’s third most densely-populated state, leaving little available land to build large solar grids So the government is looking to residents’ rooftops to tap into the solar energy.
Reference- KSEB website, The Hindu, Mathrubhumi, New Indian Express