India-assisted solar energy to light SL’s black-out riddled religious sites
The solar electrification of religious sites across Sri Lanka, with an allocation of US$ 10 million is to be initiated by the end of this year under the $15 million Indian grant extended to Sri Lanka for the strengthening of Buddhist ties between the two countries.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for this significant project was jointly finalized by the governments of India and Sri Lanka.
By the end of this year, the work on the first phase of the solar power project for religious places of worship will be completed, Buddhasasana Religious and Cultural Affairs Minister Vidura Wickramanayake said.
The Minister said this following a discussion with Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera at the Buddhasasana Religious and Cultural Affairs Ministry.
The project of installing solar power systems at religious places of worship will be implemented under the aid project received from the Indian Government to promote Buddhist relations between Sri Lanka and India.
“Under this project, relief should be provided to Buddhist temples and institutions operating as teaching centers of all religions.
Considering the advantages of a ground-mounted solar panel system, the electricity generated by it should be given to the national grid for electricity consumption in religious places of worship,” Minister Wijesekera said.
The Minister further said that apart from the shrine of Sri Pada, a system will be prepared to provide electricity through solar panels to the streets and other places where people come to worship.
This Indian financial grant will cover around 2,000 religious places of worship, he said.
Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera has announced that each religious place would be provided with a five-kilowatt solar panel, while government institutions would receive solar panels suitable for their roof sizes and the project is scheduled to commence within the next two months.
The announcement on the India-assisted renewable energy project came following the Power and Energy Ministry’s earlier decision to use an extended loan of $100 million Indian credit line to fix rooftop solar panels in government institutions and religious places.