India’s jeweled land is all set to be dazzled by solar power. The Manipur Renewable Energy Development Agency (Manireda) launched a solar thermal system in the state on 1st July with a daylong workshop to make people aware of its benefits to the environment and users.
The scheme, taken up under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Energy Mission, will provide at least 10,000 solar heaters in all the nine districts of the state during the next five years. This is also expected to reduce the burden on energy and help maintain the environment. Manipur has an acute power shortage with the state power department supplying only 80MW against a demand of 170MW during peak hours.
The heater, having a capacity of 100 litre per day, will cost around 25,000 each, 75 per cent of which will be provided by central and state subsidy.
Health and family welfare minister L. Jayenta Singh said the government had plans to install a 25kW solar energy system in the government hospitals in the district headquarters, including the one at Moreh, Manipur’s border town. Officials say solar heaters are not installed in the Northeast extensively. Manipur would be one of the first states to do so.
The Manipur agency had recently installed solar heater systems in 25 houses and offices as a demonstration before the launch .After electrifying more than 200 remote villages in the hill districts with renewable energy sources; Manireda has started electrifying the 73 police stations of the state by tapping solar energy. The agency has also so far electrified 165 Gram Panchayats(village level local bodies),other small town committees and urban local bodies including Jiribam and Thoubal in the state by providing a total of 5736 solar street lighting sets having the capacity of 444 Kilowatts.
It also fitted wind-solar hybrid energy system in another 10 villages in the hill districts where electricity does not reach. Mobile phone towers operating in the state are to be powered by solar energy, a step to cut pollution and to lessen or exclude diesel consumption while operating the towers.
It is good that government is extensively employing renewable sources of energy in the state. After all Manipur is a beautiful place; some even call it the Switzerland of the east. It is necessary to preserve the pristine beauty of such places and protect them from pollution. Hope other tourist places soon follow suit.