Residents of Shiraguppi village in Dharwad district of Karnataka use solar energy to meet some of their power needs. All the 996 buildings in the village are using the energy harnessed from the sun. The solar energy project has cost around Rs 1.5 crore released by the state government to the zilla panchayat.
The village is located about 15 km from Hubballi on the Gadag-Hubballi highway and has a population of 4,980.
According to Renuka Chitrapur, Panchayat Development Officer (PDO) of Shirguppi, electricity bills in the village have reduced by 50% after using the solar energy. The work of installation of solar panels commenced in February and completed in May. Every house in the village have single panels which have the capacity to power two lights and one mobile charging point. One light is of 15 Amps and the other 5 Amps.
The village, however, also depends on the electricity supplied by Hubli Electricity Supply Company (HESCOM) — the state-run power utility.
Maintenance of solar energy plant will attract some expenses but also result in substantial savings on electricity bill
While SELCO has completed the solar energy project Public Works Department supervised it. SELCO has a contract to maintain the solar energy panels for five years. But, each household will have to contribute Rs 20 per month to fund any major repair works after five years.
Earlier, panchayats of Kolliwad and Shiraguppi were proposed for the solar energy project. However, as the required documents were submitted by the representatives of Shiraguppi before the deadline, the village was selected for the project.
Gram panchayat president Bhuvaneshwari Shivangoudar said the panchayat put a pre-condition to the residents interested in installing solar panels that they had to clear the pending property tax to avail the benefit. This also helped the panchayat which has collected Rs 11 lakh has property tax this year compared to the average of Rs 5 lakh collected earlier. The lights will run for around four hours. During rains and power outages, solar lights help the village a lot. Solar energy has helped the villagers fight power cuts and save on power bills.
(Source: The New Indian Express)
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