New Delhi: A part of kerosene subsidy savings in India could be invested in helping the vulnerable section of society access clean lighting through off-grid solar lighting technologies, a new study has suggested. The study by leading think tanks International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) explored the business model for a ‘kerosene-solar subsidy swap’. It says a shift to solar lighting will reduce the need for ongoing expenditure on subsidies because any government support would help cover one-off capital costs, not consumption costs.
Their report released on Tuesday said since 2013-14 the central government has cumulatively saved Rs 26,470 crore by gradually reducing kerosene subsidy expenditure. This makes sense fiscally and environmentally but leaves some households with high lighting costs. Can a share of the savings be used to finance solar lighting for poor households? This could fast track access to clean lighting for households with no electricity or low-quality electricity supply, complementing the government’s other drives towards universal electrification.
From an initial 200, the report shortlists 15 pico solar PV products like solar lanterns, basic solar home systems that can provide an affordable, reliable and direct replacement for kerosene, approximately comparable to the cost those households spend on subsidized kerosene to meet their lighting needs. The report also reviews the suitability of Uttar Pradesh and Odisha to host a subsidy swap pilot study, assessing the real-world impact of increased adoption of solar energy and a reduction in kerosene consumption. (IANS)