Sahyadri Conservation Series: 26 ENVIS Technical Report: 58,  June 2013
Sustainable Energy Alternatives for Uttara Kannada
1Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012, India.
2Member, Western Ghats Task Force, Government of Karnataka, 3Member, Karnataka Biodiversity Board, Government of Karnataka
*Corresponding author:

Solar energy based generation seems promising and environmental friendly option to meet the growing demands. India is blessed with the good solar potential and harvesting this potential would minimize the environmental implications associated with the fossil fuels. Solar PV technology has the potential to meet the domestic and irrigation demands in the decentralized way. Appropriate policy incentives might help in the large scale deployment of solar devices at household levels. There is a need to focus on energy efficient decentralized electricity generation technologies with micro grid and smart grid architecture, which would go long way in meeting the energy demand. In this regard, suggestions are:

  1. Electricity generation using SPV and CSP technologies would bridge the demand supply gap as India receives abundant solar energy of more than 5 kWh/m2/day for about 300 days in a year. The adequate potential with mature technologies and apt policy incentives would help in meeting the electricity demand in a region. Few houses in Uttara Kannada has been using Solar PV for the last 4-5 years (MuroorKalabe village, etc.)

  2. Roof top based SPV would help in meeting the household energy demand in rural as well as urban households. Rural household require about 70-100 kWh per month and to meet this requirement 5-6 m2 rooftop is adequate (at η=10%, and insolation of 5 kWh/m2/day) and the average rooftop in rural locations in Karnataka is about 110 m2 and about 115 m2 in urban localities.

  3. Adequate barren /waste land is available in Karnataka as the available waste land is about 7% of the total geographical area less than 1% area is sufficient to generate electricity required for irrigation and domestic sector through SPV installation.

  4. SPV installation in waste/barren lands supports decentralized electricity generation and enables multi utilization of the area for activities such as grazing, livestock farming, etc. About 45 million households are still not electrified in India, which have potential to generate enough electricity from rooftop SPV installation; rooftop SPV installation would be the revolutionary method of rural electrification.

  5. Rooftop SPV installation is the most adoptable technology in highly populous countries like India, where the monthly electricity consumption of a household ranges from 50 to 100 kWh.Encouragement for roof top SPV based electricity generation rather than centralized generation through incentives, financial aid for initial installation and tax holidays.

  6. Supply of electricity to households in remote areas entails investment on infrastructure apart from transmission and distribution (T&D) loss of electricity. Assessment reveals that T&D loss in Karnataka is about 19.5% resulting in the loss of 7,210.16 GWh (annual demand is 36,975.2 GWh in 2010-11) of energy. Cost of energy loss ranges from Rs. 1,514.13 crores (@ Rs. 2.10/kWh) to Rs. 5,047.11 crores (@ Rs. 7/kWh) depending upon the tariff (in the respective state).

    Decentralized generation of electricity through SPV would help in meeting the respective household’s electricity demand apart from the removal of T&D losses.  Generation based incentives (GBI) would herald the decentralized electricity generation, which would help in boosting the regional economy. Considering the current level of T & D losses in centralized system, inefficient and unreliable electricity supply, it is necessary to promote decentralized energy generation. Small capacity systems are efficient, economical and more importantly would meet the local electricity demand.  The incentive could be

    • Rs.  4.00 per unit for first five years (comparable to subsidies granted to mini hydel projects, the power purchase at Rs 3.40) and Rs.3.50 for the next two years for the electricity generated from roof top solar PV.

    • Buyback programmes for the electricity generated at household level and in micro grid -GBI of Rs. 5 to be provided for electricity generation (< 5 kW) feeding to the grid by SPV.

    • Free solar home lighting (with LED lamps) under the Chief Minister’s Solar Powered Green House Scheme (CMSPGHS), Government of Karnataka or JNNSM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, Government of India).

    • All street lights and water Supply installations in local bodies to be energized through solar power (or hybrid mechanism) in a phased manner

    • Install solar rooftops in all new government/local body buildings - implementation of solar rooftops could be in a phased manner in the existing government/local body buildings, etc.

    • Exemption from payment of electricity tax to the extent of 100% on electricity generated from solar power projects used for self-consumption/sale to utility to be allowed for at least10 years.

    • Fixing of standards for quality installation.

  7. Commercial lighting in advertisement boards should only be from SPV panels. Complete ban on usage of grid electricity for these purposes.

  8. Impetus to energy research through generous funding for the R and D activities to ensure further improvements in the grid, technologies, two way communication energy meters (to connect rooftop generation with existing grid),  efficient luminaries’ production, low cost wiring, switchgears, appliances, etc.

  9. Energy education (focusing mainly on renewable energy technologies, end-use energy efficiency improvements, energy conservation) at all levels. School curriculum shall include renewable energy (RE) concepts.

  10. Awareness about energy independence and the necessity of RE sources in the present gloomy energy scenario to the consumers

  11. Education and awareness about applications and importance of renewable energy sources.

  12. Capacity building of youth through technical education for installation and servicing of SPV panels.

  13. Diploma /ITI courses with hand-on training on renewable energy technologies in all taluks

  14. Setting up service centers in block development offices to meet the requirement of service support for RE technologies (Solar, biogas, energy efficient chulas, etc.).

  15. Periodic revision of FIT structure and incentives to encourage the consumers.

  16. Mandatory one week capacity building / training programmes to all bureaucrats and energy professionals at the initial stages of the career. This is essential as lack of awareness/knowledge among the bureaucrats is the major hurdle for successful dissemination of renewable energy technologies in India

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