Power cut boosts demand for solar source of energy

Kathmandu, March 12:

Fed up with continuing power cuts, people in the Valley are increasingly turning to alternative sources of power. The short supply of power to recharge batteries for inverters and generators not being so cost-effective, use of solar energy seems to be on the rise.

Solar panels, though already a very powerful tool for energy in rural areas, hadn’t found their place in the urban areas. “The demand for solar panels has increased as load-shedding hours do not seem to decline anytime soon,” said Raju Rai of Kathmandu Power Company.

“The initial cost amounts to around Rs 20-22 thousand for installation of basic solar system, but the cost could go up to Rs 5 lakh as per the individual requirements,” said Nabin Bhujel, chairperson, Solar Electricity Manufacturers’ of Nepal.

According to Bhujel, solar panels work efficiently and effectively for a minimum of 15 years. “Solar panels for sale in the Valley are exempted from tax and vat,” he added. Till about eight months back people were doing with inverters and generators, but there has been a noticeable growth in the installation for solar panels, and as time passes by, the demand is likely to rise further, as other alternative sources of energy are not as feasible as solar panels, said Rai.

“Renewable energy is slowly making its mark but buyers have to be wary of counterfeit products sold in the market. While buying solar panels, the customers should ask for a certificate issued by Renewable Energy Test Station, which tests the product’s quality and authenticity,” said Bhujel.

Suresh Rathi, an entrepreneur, says, “I used to depend purely on my inverter until a few months ago. But with never ending power cuts, I am looking to install solar power system because they are more efficient and cost-effective.”