The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Solar heaters to help trim power bills

The state government has decided to provide solar water-heaters to the people of Calcutta in winter. According to power department officials, the heaters will be distributed by the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency, for which the government will provide subsidies.

The heaters can be put to domestic and commercial use. A domestic unit will cost Rs 18,000 and provide uninterrupted supply of 100 litres of hot water at 65 degree Celsius. Each unit will work for at least 15 years. “We shall arrange for long-term bank loans, to be repaid in five years. Out of the 14 per cent interest, we shall provide a subsidy of nine per cent,’’ said agency director S. P. Gon Chowdhury.

The government has restricted distribution to the city for the moment but “we shall extend the distribution to the districts within a short time”.

Officials said the move will promote solar power in some utilities and cut the large electricity bills. “To heat 100 litres through a geyser or immersion rods, one can expect a monthly bill of at least Rs 500. If the solar unit is installed, the investment will be realised within three years. For the next 12 years, the same services will be free,’’ Gon Chowdhury added.

Officials claim that the unit already installed at SSKM Hospital was yielding good results. “The solar unit is a must for labour rooms. We want other government hospitals and nursing homes to instal the unit too,” they added.

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