Call for tapping solar power at commercial scale

KATHMANDU, JUL 10 – Experts have said solar energy can be extracted at commercial scales by installing photovoltaic (PV) solar panels . They opined the power generated from sun could complement to the energy generated from hydropower projects to meet the growing demand of energy-hungry Nepal.

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However, the use of solar as an alternative energy to mitigate the ongoing energy crisis is possible only if the government formulates appropriate policies and subsidy mechanisms with proper financing models from the financial institutions, including banks and development partners.

“In the present scenario, where the electricity consumers’ are facing daily power outage of up to 16 hours in the dry season, there is growing understanding to generate electricity from other feasible and alternative sources, including solar,” said Siddhant Pandey, chairman of White Lotus Centre, during the “National Workshop on Industrial Scale Solar PV Electricity Generation as Alternative Source to Mitigate Energy Crisis” here on Wednesday.

However, issues like high upfront costs and maintenance, and lack of adequate information on availability of proper financing models wh-ich are affordable and accessible to consumers at all levels —household, commercial and industrial scale—are affecting the overall promotion of solar energy, Pandey said.

He said the workshop, jointly organised by White Lotus Centre and Alternative Energy Promotion Centre, aims to help to broaden the understanding on the use of solar PV as an alternative source of energy among key business in the private sector.

Despite bright potential, the exploitation of sun’s energy for industrial and commercial electricity generation through installation of solar panels continues to be a pipe dream for Nepal that is facing critical power crisis, said Ram Prasad Dhital, officiating executive director at AEPC.

However, the policies and programmes made public this month has prioritised the promotion and development of solar energy technologies including rooftop solar PVs to meet the energy demands of all, from businesses, banks and manufacturing industries to the government and the general public.

Barsha Shrestha, deputy chief executive officer at the Clean Energy Development Bank (CEDB), said the banking sector is eager to enter the market of renewable energy development by financing feasible, innovative and affordable projects. She said CEDB has around 150-200 roof top solar PV projects which are being financed without collateral. “We have provided finance between Rs 30,000 to Rs 100,000 to the viable solar projects both at household and commercial purposes.”

Source : The Kathmandu Post