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Solar power relief for DC, block offices

Guwahati, May 29: Solar panels will be installed in offices of deputy commissioners and at the block level in Assam to tackle the prevailing power crisis.

The Assam Energy Development Agency (AEDA) will install 5kW solar panels in the offices of deputy commissioners and 1kW panels in block offices. The move is expected to provide a huge relief to the busy offices, especially in summer when power cuts are frequent.

AEDA’s additional director Mrinal Krishna Chaudhury told The Telegraph that they have set up solar systems in the offices of deputy commissioners of Kamrup, Kamrup (metro) and Morigaon.

The Centre will give 90 per cent subsidy to install solar panels. The subsidy rate is 90 per cent for government institutions and 30 per cent for private ones or households.

AEDA will also install 100kW solar panels in the Assam secretariat and 50kW solar panels in the new Gauhati High Court building on the bank of the Brahmaputra. The project will be completed within six months.

AEDA, under the department of science and technology, Assam, was constituted in 2002 as an independent nodal agency to execute projects of the Union ministry of new and renewable energy. Since its inception, the agency has taken up significant projects to electrify remote villages.

The agency had recently installed one home lighting system with two bulbs and a solar streetlight in each of the 219 Aryabhatta Science Centres, run by the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council, across the state.

The peak hour electricity demand in Assam during summer is 1,300MW to 1,400MW. Domestically generated and purchased power together cannot meet the demand and the state has to face a shortfall of around 200MW. In such a scenario, solar energy is seen as a viable option.

The state government had, around six years ago, entrusted AEDA to electrify 920 remote villages with the help of solar power. The agency claims to have electrified 757 villages while work is going on in 19 villages in the sar areas of Dhubri district in lower Assam. This is the final phase and is expected to be completed in six months. “The remaining (144) villages had already been electrified with conventional energy during the time of execution of the project,” Chaudhury said. Over 35,000 households, each being given 37W power-generating solar system at 95 per cent subsidy, have been covered under the project, he added.

“People are fast becoming aware of the usefulness of solar power. When we went to install solar system in Dhubri, the number of consumers had increased because of awareness,” he said.

“Villagers in Darrang district succeeded in driving away wild elephants by setting up solar streetlights on the village border,” he added.

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