Thiruvananthapuram: There is a new trend among individual house owners and apartment owners in the capital city in tapping solar energy on the rooftop. Upcoming apartment owners highlight this as a major advantage to lure buyers where they are actually getting one per cent reduction in registration charge when they buy the house. This is being done to bring the exorbitant power bills under control.
Malayalis had heard of solar power at a time when the infamous solar scam had hit the State during the previous UDF Government's tenure. But there has been a sea change over the consumer's mindset with power bills skyrocketing. Visitors to a recently launched 28,500 sq.ft complex having 13 fully air-conditioned apartments at Vellayambalam Elankom Gardens got a pleasant surprise to see it working entirely on solar power.
Usually, only the common areas in apartments work on solar power. Owners of the Address Auroville apartments have been thrilled at power bills coming to a bare minimum of Rs 81.
"When I was working on our Sreekariyam project, I had to educate the consumers. But now things have changed. A stage has come where they are keen to bring down the power bill. Only Rs 1.25 lakh is required to generate one kilowatt of solar power," said Santosh Sreenivasan, chairman of Address Builders, Vellayambalam.
Mr Sreenivasan was already a professional setting up fully solar-powered Casamia at Sreekariyam and his home at Poojappura in 2012. Even older apartments in the city are undergoing work on rooftop solar panels so that the common areas which are always witnessing activities work on solar power.
A leading apartment complex in Vazhuthacaud, which is already a few years old, is undergoing renovation with solar panels.
Geetha Vijayakumar, an apartment owner in her early 70s, told DC that earlier her power bill used to be around Rs 2000.
"But ever since 2KV solar panels were fitted atop the rooftop of my three-bedroom apartment, I am paying the minimum rate between Rs 81 - Rs 100 every two months when the KSEB generates its bill," said Ms Vijayakumar.
Recently, when the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) sought applications from individuals, organisations and government institutions to set up grid-connected rooftop solar power units, they were inundated with the response.
The figure was way beyond their expectations as KSEB had set up a target to generate 200 MW of solar power during the first phase.
N. S. Pillai, chairman and managing director, KSEB, told DC that they had set a target to establish in-house solar power generation worth 1000 MW by 2021.
"Initially our target was 400 MW rooftop solar power. From our first phase, we have decided to choose 60,000 consumers who had already registered where 200 MW solar power will be generated," said Mr Pillai....