CleanTech/ Renewable Energy, Finance, Other, solar

Andhra small businesses go solar to evade power crisis

According to reports, with power crisis deepening, some small businesses in Andhra Pradesh are switching to solar panels to run sewing and other machines. They are able operate the machines longer compared to the availability of grid power.

“This is resulting in better realisations,” said Rajesh Vennamaneni, chief executive officer of Vega Environ, which takes up awareness events on solar products.

“The income levels in some cases have increased more than three fold,” he said, adding that there are several small businesses that have shifted to solar in Anantapur and nearby areas. Rural banks have financed most of the solar panel installations, Vennamaneni said.

Citing an instance, he said, some inverter manufacturers have shifted all tasks but for testing to solar. “Though people are inclined to use solar-based products, the low awareness about products and the kind of uses they can be put to is a barrier for the solar industry, which is in a price war with Chinese panel manufacturers,” he said.

Among others, power is wasted in heating water and lighting the common facilities in residential complexes. By centralising these, which call for separate pipes, the power consumption could be reduced significantly, he said.

India, currently, has a solar manufacturing capacity of about 1,000 mw. At current efficiencies, one mw panel produces about 1.4 million units a year. Per mw cost of installation ranges from Rs 6 crore to Rs 8.5 crore, depending on the scale of operations. The total capacity is projected to be 20,000 mw by the end of 2020. The market then will be about $19 billion, he said.

The product range is not just limited to solar lanterns now. In the coastal area of Andhra Pradesh, solar panels are being used for pumping water to fish and prawn tanks during the day and to provide lighting to the same during the nights, he said.

To bridge the consumer-industry gap, an industry event is being planned in April, inviting about 150 solar energy equipment ma­n­ufacturing companies, to showcase industrial utilities, domestic solutions, farm equipments and varied solutions to deal with power crisis.



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