Kochi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in a circular has advised schools affiliated to it to set up solar panels on their premises in order to produce solar energy. The CBSE said that this is an era of non-conventional energy and children should be taught about it and examples should be set before them in the schools itself. “Solar energy is being harvested through solar panels and is now used in most of the government offices and commercial premises as a step towards use of clean energy for protecting the environment. The schools/educational institutions consume a lot of electricity for their daily functioning which is presently sourced from non-renewable sources which are the major sources of environmental pollution. The schools are also installing heavy duty generators which run on diesel towards power backup during load shedding which aggravates air pollution in cities,” the circular pointed out.
“The Government, in order to promote the use of clean energy, has initiated National Solar Mission to control air pollution and to discourage the use of fossil fuels for energy needs. Therefore, CBSE affiliated schools consistent with the national policy initiative may also install solar panels in their premises at places like rooftop/vacant unused area of campus to meet their power needs and as power backup,” the CBSE has said. The CBSE also pointed out to schools that the use of solar energy in schools will creat awareness among the students about the use of renewable sources of energy, lower their monthly electricity bill and the schools can also generate funds by selling excess power to the state grids as per the government policy. “The use of solar energy in schools will not only contribute to environmental sustainability and promote the habit of energy conservation among school children, but the cost savings will also contribute to the financial stability of schools in the years ahead. The affiliated schools of the board are, therefore, advised to take measures for maximum utilization and promotion of solar energy in schools,” the circular pointed out.
St Philomena’s Public School and Junior College, Elanji, Principal Fr John Erniakulath while welcoming the circular said that the absence of credible agencies in implementing solar projects is preventing schools from toeing such projects. “There are a lot of dubious players who decamp with money after promising to implement solar power projects. I have heard that even the Cochin international airport which became the first airport in the world to be fully powered by solar had a bitter experience first in this regard. The CBSE should empanel credible agencies and they should have the responsibility to secure the subsidy from the Central Government for such projects. “I am sad that even the service of state government agency ANERT is not very encouraging in this regard. Schools are in fact the ideal place to implement such projects as the roof tops are spacious enough to spread the solar panels,” said Fr John Erniakulathil.
“Certainly it is a welcome step. However, small and medium schools will find it difficult to implement it as the cost for implementing solar scheme is expensive. The current subsidy is not enough to sustain such projects. “More than 50 per cent subsidy is needed for solar projects, then only small and medium schools will be attracted to it. Otherwise, large schools alone will be able to implement them. So the government should come out with financial package for such schools to implement such projects,” said E M Sreekumari, principal, Vyasa Vidyalaya, Palachuvad, Kakkanad, Kochi. She said that space won’t be a constraint for schools. “It certainly will be inspiring for students and teachers. The idea of less pollution and producing power can guide them to better ideas and a better world,” said Ms Sreekumari. According to Dr B Raveendran Nair, principal, Mother India School, Kallara, near Kilimanoor, the initiative for solar power projects should come even without CBSE directive.
“In my opinion, considering the cost aspect, the state and central governments should fully fund such projects for the schools.
“A lot of money is now pumped from MLA and MP funds to government and now aided school infrastructure development while CBSE schools are discriminated against. In fact such funds should be given to CBSE schools at least for implementing these solar power projects,” said Dr Raveendran Nair. He also said that care must be taken to use quality materials including battery while implementing such projects. “Otherwise, unnecessary expenditure will come for maintenance. In Kerala CIAL has set an example for the entire world and schools in the state are only happy to follow suit,” said Dr Raveendran Nair adding that fossil fuels are already doing a lot of damage to the environment and should be done away with in a phased manner. He also said that the organic way of living should be spread among students along with this and schools should take the lead for that along with other arms of the society. “Proper decomposition of waste and organic cultivation of vegetables all should become the new way of life,” said Dr Raveendran Nair.