Home » SL uses Indian credit for solar panels in govt offices, religious places

SL uses Indian credit for solar panels in govt offices, religious places

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Sri Lanka will use an extended loan of 100 million US dollar Indian credit line to fix roof top solar panels in government institutes and religious places, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchan Wijesekera said after electricity tariff hikes triggered protests.

Some Buddhist monks threatened not to honour payment for electricity usage and blackout at their temples after the government raised electricity tariff to a record high to reduce heavy losses suffered by the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).

The Ministry of Power & Energy later agreed to install rooftop solar panels at select places of worship with the Indian credit line but later be paid for by the connection holder, as a solution to the electricity tariff hike.

“USD 100 Million Credit Line extended by Gov of India for roof top solar will be used to equip schools, universities, education institutes, hospitals, district & divisional secretariat’s, government buildings and religious institutes,” Minister Wijesekera said in his twitter platform.

USD 100 Million Credit Line extended by Gov of India for RoofTop Solar will be used to equip Schools, Universities, Edu institutes, Hospitals, District & Divisional Secretariat’s, Govt buildings & Religious institutes. Progress was reviewed with officials of Indian HC, SEA & CEB. pic.twitter.com/Zq8bT322ym

— Kanchana Wijesekera (@kanchana_wij) October 15, 2022

Sri Lanka’s electricity consumers could set up a rooftop solar unit and recover the cost in four to five years, which is not so expensive compared to the money spent on bathroom tiles, industry officials said.

In Sri Lanka however the Ceylon Electricity Board’s grid is not built to absorb power from consumers but only to distribute. As a result only a few houses get permission to set up grid connected solar systems.

CEB officials say there are plans to upgrade the system to be able to absorb more renewables over the next few years, which may cost up to 4.0 billion US dollars.

When grid connected solar units are set up at the end of a power line stretching from a transformer, customers are not able to export or ‘push out’ power at a safe voltage. Ramping up voltage tends to damage electrical appliances including at neighboring houses.

This technical barrier is generally interpreted as the utility resisting rooftop solar according to CEB officials.

However residents can install an off grid system and save the power in batteries.

An off grid system with batteries could be built for 2.2 to 2.6 million rupees, Fernando said compared to the 1.1 to 1.3 million for a grid connected system.

Sri Lanka’ raise power tariffs from August. High domestic users are charged as much as 75 rupees a unit.

If 20 percent of Sri Lanka’s 6.5 million plus domestic customers moved to rooftop solar, installing 3kW solar systems, about 3000 MegaWatts of capacity could be installed.

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