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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Nagpada gets South Mumbai’s first solar-powered college

The energy department of the state government confirmed this was one of the first colleges in the state to be ‘zero energy’ — total energy used annually equal to renewable energy created on site.

mumbai Updated: Mar 28, 2019 08:51 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The Maharashtra College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Nagpada has installed 250 solar panels on its terrace.
The Maharashtra College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Nagpada has installed 250 solar panels on its terrace.(HT Photo )
         

A college in Nagpada has become the first educational institute in south Mumbai and one of the first in the state to power its electricity requirements completely from solar energy.

The Maharashtra College of Arts, Science and Commerce is still connected to the grid, but will only pay basic meter charges or consume electricity from the grid during complete cloud cover.

The seven-storey main building, four-storey annexe building, two lifts, water pumps, air conditioners, computers, lights and fans in every department are being powered by solar energy.

HT had reported in October 2017 when the college first installed the renewable energy source, which was catering to a little more than half of its energy demands. Currently, the capacity of the plant has been enhanced to 84.5-kilowatt power (kWp) with 250 solar panels across 2,000 sq. foot rooftop. Overall, the college is saving Rs 1.3 lakh in electricity expenses every month.

“The idea was to adopt green energy and bring our electricity bill to zero,” said Dr. Siraj Chougle, principal of the college.

The energy department of the state government confirmed this was one of the first colleges in the state to be ‘zero energy’ — total energy used annually equal to renewable energy created on site.

Over the past one-and-a-half years, the college had installed an additional 100 solar panels, taking their annual electricity generation to 1.12 lakh units or an average of 306 units per day.

With the life of the plant being 25 years, the private company that installed the project — MSS Renewtech — said the college is expected to save Rs 2.63 crore during its lifespan. “The only drawback for the project was a shadow effect from an adjacent building on the southwestern side. We optimised the placement of the panels to get maximum consumption,” said Muhammad Sohail Shaikh from MSS Renewtech.

“This is an accurate example of a zero-energy model. However, consumption is not possible without being connected to the grid. In this case, a net metering system allows surplus power generated by solar to be exported back to the grid,” said SP Gon Chaudhuri, chairman, International Solar Innovation Council, a global body of solar energy experts.

“The efforts are encouraging as this is in keeping without our national goal of shifting to green energy. It will help us conserve polluting sources such as coal,” said Arvind Singh, principal secretary, energy department, Maharashtra.

First Published: Mar 27, 2019 16:11 IST

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