For nearly a month now, students from Amulakh Amichand High School in Wadala have been making trips to the school’s otherwise prohibited area — the terrace.
Sweating under the mid-day sun, the students strain their eyes and pay close attention to the teachers who escort them and explain how solar energy is powering the lights and fans in their classrooms.
On March 5, the school installed 45 solar panels on its terrace, which light up the 51 classrooms. Generating 10.5 kilowatt of energy, the solar panels have been set up at a cost of Rs24 lakh, in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Nuernberg- Reichswald, Germany.
At present, the school uses both solar energy and BEST-supplied power. Its power bill ranges from Rs75,000 to Rs1 lakh a month normally, and with the solar panels, the school is likely to save 10% energy and approximately Rs20,000 to Rs30,000.
The idea to switch to green energy was thought of three years ago when the school decided to go beyond just holding theory classes for environment studies. “Since then, fans and lights have been switched off in every classroom during the 20-minute break. Now that we have solar panels, we want to familiarise students with solar energy and technology,” said Uma Chaudhary, school headmistress.
Negotiations with the German team started in early 2011 and the school put in place all the requirements needed to harness solar energy.
In the future, school authorities want to switch to solar energy completely. The school will study a month’s electricity bill to evaluate solar energy usage and figure out what capacity they need in the future. “We will then slowly increase the solar panel installation. Disconnecting from conventional power is the final aim,” said Chaudhary.
For students, the project has huge benefits.
“Now I know how sun rays are captured and converted into solar energy and supplied to our classrooms,” said Krupali Gala, 16, a Class 9 student. “It will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels responsible for polluting the environment.”