Sri Lanka LOLC cuts grid use with solar power

Sept 02, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s LOLC financial group commissioned a 48 kiloWatt solar power array that will supply 15 percent of energy needs at its head office in Colombo, reducing its ‘carbon footprint’, officials said. The LOLC head office uses about 50,000 units (kilowatt hours) of energy a month. The firm already had used solar panels in its possession. It had spent 19 million rupees to import inverters and other equipment to connect the solar panels to the building’s power supply.

Officials say the 19 million rupees system has a 10-year pay-back period, based on current tariffs of about 13.50 a unit for active power.

Large commercial establishments are charged on units of active power, a fixed fee and another charge for peak demand, which incorporates a cost for reactive power.

Reactive power is needed to transmit power, though not actually ‘used’. Solar panels do not generate reactive power and though reactive power can be inserted with the use of capacitors.

Large hydro plants are one of the cheapest sources of renewable energy. Most other sources of renewable energy, especially solar, are expensive and need tax rebates and other subsidies to make them viable.

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