MANGALURU: This village panchayat building in Padupanamboor in Mulki runs entirely on solar energy and saves Rs 3,000 on electricity bills monthly .
This is thanks to the initiative of panchayat members, who have become role models by meeting all the electricity needs of the the building by using solar energy. The idea to go solar was mooted after the panchayat won the Gandhi Gram Puraskar which comes with a cash purse of Rs 5 lakh. The members, who wanted to use money for development work, proposed installing solar panels to power the building.
With this, not only does the panchayat save big on electricity bills, but is also spared of power outages, due to which villagers were earlier sent back due to non-functioning systems during power cuts. “We will save nearly Rs 36,000 per year by going solar, but more than that it saves us from sending villagers back whenever there is a power cut,” said Mohandas Thokur.
The panchayat building is installed with a 2,400 watt solar panel with battery and inverter. It helps power13 lights, 12 fans, five computers, a laptop, two printers, drinking water filters and other equipment. The battery lasts up to seven years, while solar panels have a warranty of 25 years. “We are thinking of installing additional solar facilities and sell power to Mescom to generate income for the panchayat. The income generated will be utilised for development works of the pachayat. Ivan D’Souza, MLC, Meenakshi Shantigodu, president, zilla panchayat, and rural development and panchayat raj minister K S Eshwrappa have sanctioned a total of Rs 6 lakh for the same,” said Anitha Catherine, panchayat development officer.
The Padupanamboor village panchayat has been at the forefront for implementation of several projects and schemes. It was lauded for successful implementation of a vented dam under a World Bank Scheme, clean village, plastic-free village, MGNREGA implementation, and made a short film for electoral awareness. It is also the second cashless panchayat in the district.