SoBo building goes solar, saves 5 lakh a year

Published on Feb 23, 2020 11:52 PM IST
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HT Image
By, Mumbai

A housing society in Malabar Hill has taken the solar route to reduce its electricity bill while simultaneously contributing to a sustainable future.

The 24-storey Silver Arch Cooperative Housing Society (CHS) installed a 28.6-kilowatt power (kWp) rooftop solar plant in May 2019 to power electricity requirements across its common areas including lifts, water pumps, and staircase lighting.

The plant generates 42,000 units of electricity which has led to 32% savings (5 lakh) in the society’s power bill annually. Prior to the installation, the society was spending 15.62 lakh annually on electricity expenses.

The society has already saved 3.7 lakh since May, said residents. “We calculated that by using energy from the sun, we will be preventing 38.57 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which we would have otherwise emitted through the grid,” said Mayur Shah, a society member.

Apart from the huge savings in their electricity bills, the society’s move to go solar was propelled by their motivation to do their bit for the environment. “Climate change poses a very real threat irrespective of the geographical location. It is high time each one of us stopped waiting for someone else to make the first move to combat it and begin making individual efforts to take care of the environment,” said Rajesh Godhwani, another resident.

The society spent 17.3 lakh on the project, said AnimeshManek, founder and director, Avishakti Rooftop Solar, the company that installed the system. “The initial investment of the project will be recovered in around three years and the overall breakeven will happen within four years. The project has a life span of 25 years and was also eligible for the 2019 subsidy scheme by the Maharashtra government that amounted to 333,750,” said Manek.

The solar plant at the society was commissioned through a net-metering system, which allows surplus power generated by solar panels to be sent into the public grid, and any deficiency is imported from the grid. At the end of every month, the society is charged only for the ‘net usage’ by electricity distributors.

Recently, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (MERC) published its new policy wherein an additional charge will apply to customers having a rooftop solar plant of capacity more than 10 kW.


    Badri Chatterjee is an environment correspondent at Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He writes about environment issues - air, water and noise pollution, climate change - weather, wildlife - forests, marine and mangrove conservation

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