The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is now targeting hospitals and hospitality sectors in Tamil Nadu to promote solar energy as an alternative. To demonstrate this, the Government of India partnered with the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) and Global Environment Fund (GEF) to conduct programmes based on solar power for market development. A business meet, held at SRM University on Tuesday, demonstrated the positives of the UNDP – GEF project on Concentrated Solar Technology (CST) by inviting faculties from various institutions, hospitals and hotels in Tamil Nadu. The project has been planned for a duration of five years (April 2012 – March 2017) under which they are targeting nearly eight States in the country, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in South India. According to Sudhir Kumar, Joint Director of World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE), Tamil Nadu has shown great interest in this initiative. “This being the third campaign in Tamil Nadu, the State has already come up with nearly 45 project ideas. Out of this, we are looking to approve at least 20,” he said. The event also saw the participation of various representatives from hostels and hospitals in Tamil Nadu. The attractive, yet expensive alternative has not deterred the hospitality sectors as it gives them an opportunity to contribute to the nature. “The main idea is to give back something to the nature, so moving towards a renewable energy will be healthy decision,” said Dinesh from Taj Fishermen Cove. A recent policy announcement of the Tamil Nadu Government asking various sectors to spend three per cent of their revenue on solar energy has led many hotels to try this alternative. The project has several advantages other than being environmental friendly. The Union Government is giving users a 30 per cent subsidy for commercial use and 60 per cent subsidy for non-commercial use. Using solar power in commercial areas will also give users an 80 per cent of Income Tax rebate. Pankaj Kumar, DPM in UNDP insisted to make optimum use of this subsidized opportunity by the sectors before the subsidies are pulled back.

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