Island of hope

Sagar island will become a model for solar energy use

Published: Monday 31 January 2000

west bengal's largest cluster of islands, the Sagar island, is soon going to be powered by solar energy. The island, where it is not possible to provide grid electricity, is run by diesel generators sets whose pollution is affecting the region's fragile ecosystem.

The first step towards electrification through solar photovolataic ( pv ) cells began in 1996. In the beginning the people were not enthusiastic to invest in this. But with the success of the pv sets at Kamalpur, a great deal of interest has been generated. "There are five functioning power plants, each with a capacity of 26 kilowatts, and there are more in the offing," says E V R Shastri, adviser to the Union ministry of non-conventional energy sources ( mnes ).

Today, solar energy is being used to power operation theatres and labour rooms in hospitals, dormitories and study rooms in hostels and commercial establishments. In Rudranathpur, the commercial hub of this island, it is a common sight to see telephone booths proudly displaying signboards 'solar power in use here'. Today people are ready to make payments of Rs 125 required for installing five power points in each house.

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