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While the country and Karnataka are encouraging a solar policy, there are lessons from the experiments in America that can be emulated here, said David W. Cash, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, U.S.
Talking to reporters on Friday, Mr. Cash said while the solar policy recently announced by the Karnataka government has numerous similarities with the policies of many U.S. States, there are key dissimilarities.
One is to reduce the prohibitive installation costs of solar systems. As reported by The Hindu , a 2KW roof-top unit can cost nearly Rs. 4 lakh.
As compared to this, in Massachusetts, the roof-top policy seeks to group multiple individual households which are then tendered to solar panel vendors, said Mr. Cash. “Vendors install panels in over 1,000 households at a time. This brings down the cost of installation by nearly 30 per cent,” he said, adding that this suggestion received positive response from the electricity companies here.
Similarly, spurred by incentives and shared benefits, companies “lease” out roofs. “The pricing of solar is differential. During a hot day or peak demand, the price for solar per unit is increased, encouraging companies to feed their solar units to the grid,” said Mr. Cash.
He believes that collaboration between researchers in the U.S. and India to develop storage cells – to capture excess wind or solar energy – will lead to incredible growth in usage of solar energy.
Apart from encouraging solar energy production, he advocates regulations against using fossil fuels and coal. “There is a perception that increased environment regulation will lead to a dip in economic growth…However, in nine U.S. States, even as power companies have been forced to reduce emissions by 40 per cent, it has been shown that the economies there have added over $ 9 billion,” said Mr. Cash.
U.S. official has a suggestion to cut prohibitive installation cost
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