Feb 1, 2016- Communities across the country can now install solar street lamps in their neighbourhoods with the state deciding to provide up to 70 percent of the installation costs.
Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Kamal Thapa on Sunday launched the Public Participation-based Solar Street Lamp Programme, under which communities are entitled to the government subsidy for installation of solar lamps in their neighbourhoods through their respective municipalities or VDCs. The programme will be taken across the country as a campaign and will be implemented locally on the first-come-first-serve basis, the ministry said.
According to Thapa, the government and the KMC will bear 60 percent and 25 percent of the cost to install solar lamps on the streets of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, while the remaining cost should be borne by the community. For other municipalities and VDCs, the government will bear 65 percent of the cost, the local body will bear 20 percent and the consumers will bear the rest, Thapa said.
The government had approved working plans for the solar street lamp project on January 24. According to joint secretary Gopi Krishna Khanal, chief of Municipality and Environment Management Division at MoFALD, the programme is intended at reducing load on Nepal Electricity Authority’s power grid, facilitating night markets in city areas and promoting urban beautification. Government’s Alternative Energy Promotion Centre will oversee technical aspect of the programme, he said.
Through the implementation of the programme, the government expects to save at least 6 megawatt of electricity—almost the same amount of power currently being used to light street lamps across the country. As the cost of a utility pole with solar lamps is estimated at Rs100,000, the programme will cover the cost of about 10,000 solar street lamps along 710km of roads across the country, Khanal said.
Minister Thapa said that public demands for the programme would be collected through local bodies within a month, after which installation should begin immediately. “The programme has been launched as the country is reeling under a chronic energy crisis and resulting power cuts,” he said, adding that the public participation would also check corruption and irregularities. He also said that the programme will be expanded as per the demand from the public.
The government has devised separate provisions to implement the solar street lamp programme for extremely backward regions and public institutions.
According to Khanal, the government will bear 70 percent of the installation cost in extremely backward regions, with the local bodies making a contribution of 20 percent and the rest by the public. For public institutions like schools, hospitals, universities and government offices, the installation cost will be shared between the government and the institution in 70:30 ratio, he said.
In order to check on irregularities, the minimum warranty period for solar panels have been set at 20 years; five years for batteries and two years for charge controllers and bulbs, Khanal said. The ministry has formed a 13-member central coordination committee under Assistant Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Biraj Bahadur Bista with joint secretaries of several other ministries and chiefs of government bodies as members.
Source : eKantipur