Monday, April 20, 2009

Subsidised Solar Power?

This may sound too good to be true but while you are reading this, the Government is already subsidising the cost of installing energy producing solar panel (Photovoltaic, PV). In my earlier writings the Government has given the first tier of subsidy through Suria 1000 initiative by Pusat Tenaga Malaysia.

The second tier is to push through a set of Acts that would "force" the utilities to buy excess power produced by the BIPV participants at 4 to 6 times their selling price. Fingers crossed, let's hope this will be passed in the Parliament soon.

A glimpse at the perks that the one can get from the subsidy:

Household power requirement: 4kWh (urban)
Cost to install 4.2kWp of BIPV: RM100,000
Govt subsidy (Suria1000): RM50,000 (50% of the total capital)

Govt will spend RM5bil in subsidy if it is to target 100,000 household with BIPV installed and that is a mere 0.4% of the population. There goes our stimulus package of RM5 billion. Pass the proposed Bill and our Government could fork out another RM80 to RM100mil monthly to pay up the claims from Utilities.

Say, rural households only require half of the average urban households consumption. The amount can benefit less than 0.8% of the population. By and far this technology is reachable only to the privileged few because no average income individual will be able to come out with RM50k to pay for their electricity bills 15 to 20 years in advance.

The current subsidy structure, apparently, only benefits the rich; not even the middle income group can afford this. It is felt that, the Government can actually setup an integrated BIPV or even a dedicated PV structure for a group or groups of household in the rural areas, make the people pay a bit of monthly fee and maintain the system for continuous supply without costly maintenance.

By the same calculation RM2mil can supply electricity to 40 households (limited to 2kW per household), this will provide sufficient power supply for basic necessities such as lightings, fans and small sized refrigerator. All in all, RM3mil should be sufficient for a the whole village of 40 households. This can just be another SPNB project by the Government.

If it can be done in the case of building low-cost houses foo the hardcore poor, where participant pay somewhat RM140/month, it can also be implemented for electrifying the remote villages. It is returning the investment, in a long run.

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