Switch to alternative power


Summer is round the corner with the usual woes regarding power and water. The shortfall in peak hour power supply this summer is projected at 800 MW. Though the Karnakata Power Transmission Corporation (KPTC) has promised not to carry out any load shedding, it’s better to have some backup arrangement. One sure way is by keeping an alternative source of power supply in place, like solar energy devices. K R Lakshmikantha, general manager, KPTC, said, “Last year we had to carry out load shedding. But this year we have made a commitment not to cut power in urban centres till June. The shortfall will be met by load shedding in rural areas.” The increase in power demand in Bangalore this year is about four per cent. The heaviest period for power demand is mid-March to April-end. The peak hour is 7-8 pm .

M K Halpeth, director, Tata Energy Research Institute, said,“Karnataka is a leader in the consumption of solar energy. Total replacement of one’s home or office lighting to solar energy may not be possible but people can at least keep some emergency backup lighting and alternative heating devices in place.” It is estimated that 60-70,000 solar water heaters have been sold in Karnataka so far, making it one of the leading users of solar power in the country. The other popular devices are home lighting for lamps, lanterns, pumps and cookers.

Managing director, Karnataka Renewable Energy Development, B Shivalingaiah said, “Solar energy projects were initially meant for rural support. But it took off very well in cities because here people have more disposable income and there are no mind blocks. Our estimate says, 150 MW of peak demand can be saved by installing 1 lakh solar heaters in the city.” He said a 100-lt solar heater can save Rs 150-200 per month in your electricity bill. You can get back the investment in three years. Halpeth advises consumers to look for ‘energy efficiency’ labelling in electrical gadgets before buying them. “The Bureau of Energy Efficiency issues these certificates to electrical devices. The more the number of stars in the certificate, the more power-efficient the device is. In another year, all gadgets will have to carry energy efficient labels,” he explained.