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India-assisted solar energy to light Sri Lanka black-out declared religious sites, govt institutes

Sri Lanka’s Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera has announced that government institutions and religious sites in the country will be powered by solar energy with the support of Indian loan assistance.

Wijesekera said that each religious place would be provided with a five-kilowatt solar panel, while government institutions would receive solar panels suitable for their roof sizes and the project is scheduled to commence within the next two months.

The announcement on the India-assisted renewable energy project came following the Power and Energy Ministry’s earlier decision to use an extended loan of $100 million Indian credit line to fix rooftop solar panels in government institutions and religious places.

Late last year, the government announced the project when electricity tariff hikes triggered protests spread in many places of religions across the country.

Following the government’s decision to raise the electricity tariff to a record high to solve heavy losses suffered by the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), some Buddhist monks threatened not to honour payment for electricity usage and declare blackouts at temples.

In addition to the religious institutes, the credit line extended by the Indian government was to install rooftop solar at schools, universities, education institutes, hospitals, district and divisional secretariats and other government buildings.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s power demand is to be eased with the construction of a 500 MW renewable energy power plant by India’s Adani Group. Minister Wijesekera said that the necessary permissions have been granted and the energy generated is projected to be integrated into the national grid by December of next year.

Last August, Sri Lanka issued provisional approval to Adani Green Energy to build two wind power projects – 286 MW in Mannar and 234 MW in Pooneryn for an investment of over $500 million.

“Progress of the 500 MW Renewable Energy Project in Mannar and Pooneryn was discussed with Anil Sardana, MD & CEO of Adani Transmission Ltd & project management team” Minister Wijesekera had said in a statement.

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