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It was only a couple of days back I wrote that it will be silly to expect people from metros to stand in a queue to install solar panels on their rooftops when the power supply is fairly OK in most major metros and the payback period for solar panels is about 20 years, if you are lucky.

Someone from the government seems to have read my post and taken action based on that (illusions and dreams never end, do they!).

I read earlier today that in order to encourage the use of solar energy, the government will soon announce a scheme by which it will bear 30 per cent of the cost of generating it on household rooftops.

The subsidy could later go up to 50 per cent if all states pursue the scheme vigorously. In states like Gujarat and West Bengal the state government is already providing 20 per cent subsidy — this would be an addition.

So far, response of citizens to generate roof top solar energy has been poor because of high cost of solar photovoltaic panels. North Delhi Power Limited initiated one such programme in 2009 but not even a single citizen came forward. Well, that’s no really surprising, when the payback period is about 15-20 years and there is no real desperation for a backup power source in most metros except places like Bangalore that experience severe power cuts.

I think the subsidy program is a step in the right direction, but a 30% subsidy, while it sounds good, might still not be good enough – well, it brings down the payback period from 15 years to 10 years, but even 10 years is far too high!