Helpline to promote solar water heaters launched
The ministry of new and renewable energy has started a voice-activated national helpline to raise awareness about solar water heaters, the technology used and answer questions from consumers.
The initiative is part of the UNDP/Global Environment Facility Global Solar Water Heating Project ( GSWHP).
The service, which has been operating since September 15, is managed by the Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI). The toll-free number 18002334477 can be reached between 9.30 am and 6 pm from Monday to Friday, and 9.30 am and 1.30 pm on Saturdays. Help will be offered in both Hindi and English, the STFI said in a statement issued here on Wednesday.
The helpline is a permanent service. The statement also said the fast-growing solar water heater market in India ranks among the top 10 in the world.
According to the union government, the solar water heater potential is estimated to be 140 million m2. Of the 20 million m2 stated as a target in the national solar mission plan, 9 million m2 were set up by June 2011. Considering the huge potential and the speed with which it is explored, the helpline is expected to raise enough awareness and reach a larger share of the public.
The helpline is to direct clients to the nearest trader or supplier of solar water heaters in their region. Another reason was better dissemination of information about the benefits of solar water heaters, as well as information about incentives and financing related to solar thermal technology.
The type of calls received every quarter will be logged in a database and shared with the MNRE. In addition, the call centre gathers complaints from existing customers of a certain company and shares this information with the respective business to improve quality. The data will also help the ministry chalk out future policies.