While uninterrupted power supply has been a challenge amid rising costs in the country, a panchayat in Kerala’s Thrissur district has set a model for implementing an alternative power generation and distribution model.
On Wednesday, a team of 45 officials, including panchayat presidents and local body authorities, from Tamil Nadu visited the panchayat to study the possibilities of adopting the model of rooftop solar energy plants.
Perinjanam first introduced the rooftop solar power project in 2016. Overcoming the challenges, the panchayat has now installed solar power panels and a system to connect the generated electricity to the KSEB grid in 747 houses.
Visiting the houses and appreciating the efforts taken by the panchayat, P Thankavel, president of Odanthurai grama panchayat in Tamil Nadu, said he wished to replicate the Perinjanam model in his panchayat. The presidents of 37 panchayats who were part of the team were selected based on the power shortage experienced there.
“With frequent power cuts in Tamil Nadu, the solar power project can be adopted to ensure the working of pumps for irrigation to farmlands,” said a delegate.
The team was also keen on sanctioning loans from cooperative banks to the farmers and others to set up solar power units.
“In Perinjanam, 127 families from the financially poor background were provided loans from cooperative banks. As the interest rates were low, they could pay back the full amount in three-four years,” said Perinjanam panchayat president K K Satchith.
Six months ago, representatives of Poovulagin Nanbargal, an environmental group based in Tamil Nadu, visited Perinjanam to study the solar project here. Taking a cue from what they saw at Perinjanam, the NGO invited Satchith to present the project in the decentralised planning committee meeting in Tamil Nadu.
On September 23, 2019, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the 500-kW solar power project in Perinjanam and the power generation keeps increasing every year as more houses become a part of it. After four years, the panchayat in total generates 1.16 MW and uploads it to the KSEB grid. Many families in the panchayat are getting paid by KSEB for the excess power generated after consumption.