South Mumbai college opts for 150-panel solar setup to cut its power bill by Rs64,000 per month
A south Mumbai college has adopted solar energy on such a large scale that it will help them wipe out their carbon footprint over the next 25 years. Last week, the Maharashtra College of Arts and Commerce in Nagpada commissioned a 50 kilowatt-power (kWp) solar rooftop setup with 150 panels, which is the largest solar power project among all educational institutes in south Mumbai.
“This is the largest capacity unit installed in south Mumbai for residential, educational and religious institutions. We estimate that such a project has a lifespan of 25 years. This means we will be able to save 927.5 tonnes of CO2 over the next 25 years by using this green energy source,” said Sirajuddin Chowgule, principal of the college, which has 3,700 students.
According to a carbon footprint calculator by the US Energy and Information Administration, one kilowatt hour (kw-hr) consumption of solar energy equals 500gm of CO2 saved. The setup on the college will help it save 37.1 tonnes of CO2 every year — that’s a saving of Rs7,70,000 annually.
The power source will generate 191.7 kilowatt-hour (kWh) energy per day and 70,000 kWh annually. Lights, fans, water pumps, lifts and air conditioners at the seven-storey college building and a two-floor annexe building will all run on solar energy.
Nahid Bhujwala, head of the department of accountancy, said the college researched similar projects for the past two months. “We surveyed other solar projects and found that it will be extremely cost-effective and will help us save Rs 64,000 per month,” he said adding, “The college will generate its own electricity at a cost of Rs 2.71 per kWh for 25 years against the original tariff of Rs 14 per kWh.”
The renewable energy source will not only benefit the college but also areas in the city where there is less supply of electricity. A net-metering system has been installed, which allows surplus power generated by solar setup to be exported back to the grid and any deficiency is imported from the grid. At the end of a financial year, the society will be charged by the power supplier only for the ‘net usage’, said members of Green Power Projects Pvt Ltd that installed the project. “The college spent Rs38 lakh for the installation and it was self financed,” said Muhammad Sohail Shaikh, chief operating officer, Green Power Projects Pvt Ltd. “The project will help cover 60% of the current electricity consumption of the college. They will recover the cost of installation within the next five years.”
Solar energy is a free source of renewable energy that does not cause pollution and instead reduces carbon emissions that come from burning coal, gas and oil for electricity generation. It can be used in remote areas where electricity from the grid cannot be accessed.