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President Kalam switches on solar power

PRESIDENT A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has plans to light up Rashtrapati Bhawan with solar power. To avoid cutting down about 15-20 trees in the compound, the project would require the construction of a new structure on which the solar panels will be mounted. All this will cost about Rs 350 crore. The proposed structure -- which will double up as a convention centre -- would be bigger than Vigyan Bhawan..

india Updated: Mar 29, 2006 01:37 IST

PRESIDENT A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has plans to light up Rashtrapati Bhawan with solar power. To avoid cutting down about 15-20 trees in the compound, the project would require the construction of a new structure on which the solar panels will be mounted.

All this will cost about Rs 350 crore.


The proposed structure -- which will double up as a convention centre -- would be bigger than Vigyan Bhawan..

The president's press adviser, S.M. Khan, has confirmed that such a proposal was initiated by Kalam who recently held a meeting with experts to discuss the project. The National Thermal Power Corporation  and Power Finance Corporation have formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to set up a 5-MW solar photovoltaic power project at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Kalam is said to be keen to set an example -- if Rashtrapati Bhawan can be lit up using photovoltaic solar power panels, so can rural India.

The project cost includes the setting up of power panels (estimated cost: Rs 135.70 crore) and the construction of 10 blocks with basement, ground floor and first floor for solar panels to be mounted on rooftops (Rs 206.69 crore). The project is to be located near bungalow number 1&2, Mother Teresa Cresent, Rashtrapati Bhawan.

"A number of proposals have been discussed since early this month and we're awaiting directions from the president's office," said a source. "Once implemented it could act as a convention centre bigger than Vigyan Bhawan. It could also house high-profile offices, like that of various regulators."

Preliminary estimates indicate the convention centre would be able to house over 5,000 people. It can even have an underground parking.

The original proposal was to lay PV solar panels at ground level divided in 10 sub-fields in total area of 96,192 sq m. Two alternative suggestions were discussed. One was to build 10 blocks with basement and ground floor for solar panels mounted on rooftop. The available plinth area on each floor was to be about 8,537 sq m.

The second suggestion, which is understood to be most favoured, is to build it on the same pattern but on an increased floor area of 25,611 sq m for each block at an estimated cost of Rs 206.69 crore — to be constructed in 10 months.