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Monday August 6, 2012

Businessmen harness the sun and sell power to TNB

PETALING JAYA: It pays to go green and a group of Malaysians will attest to this.

Businessmen Steven Ho and Suyani Hijjas together with physician Dr George Anthony Taye Wei Chun decided to harness the sun's energy and sell it to Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB).

They signed up for the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) mechanism, where they were given approval by the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda) to sell their renewable energy to TNB.

By generating electricity between 3.6kWp and 20.79kWp on their solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, each of them receive RM500 to RM3,500 from TNB monthly.

(kWp is the abbreviation for kilowatt-peak, a measure of the peak output of a photovoltaic system).

Ho said he is proud to be part of the pioneers to bring green technology to the mainstream.

He spent less than RM100,000 to install 16 PV panels on the roof of his bungalow, which can generate 3.76kWp energy, which will then be channelled to the TNB grid.

The cost also includes an inverter which will convert the solar energy to electricity and a meter to record the amount of energy produced.

He put his system in place in February and two weeks ago received his first RM700 payment from TNB.

His friends are thinking about following suit.

“They are interested and are thinking of installing a similar system, especially since the cost of solar panels has gone down lately,” he said.

Hospital Melaka geriatric physician Dr Taye, 34, said it made sense to opt for solar energy as Malaysia is blessed with sunshine all-year around.

He spent RM50,000 to install 16 PV panels on the roof of his semi-detached house last November, which can generate 3.6Kw of electricity.

“I received my first payment of RM500 in May. Since then I received between RM500 and RM600 monthly,” he said, adding that he would be getting his return of investment in seven years.

Suyani spent RM400,000 to put in 99 PV panels on the rooftop of his family-run boutique hotel in Penang, in line with the hotel's overall sustainability theme.

“For us, (solar energy) is the easiest to harness. It doesn't take up much space,” he said.

The 45-room hotel opened for business last year and Suyani received his first payment of RM3,500 from TNB last month.