Article as appeared in the newspaper:
A housing society in Bhandup (West) is set to cut back its electricity expenses by 65%, as it inaugurated its 180- kilowatt power (kWp) solar plant on Saturday (13-April-2019) Dheeraj Dreams Building 1, located off LBS Marg, is one of four societies in the complex that had installed the solar panels.
Those involved in the project said this is the largest such project in the suburbs. With 546 panels, the project will power lights in the common area, 12 lifts and five water pumps for 622 flats in four 20-storey towers in Building 1.
“Clean energy is the need of the hour and we felt it was the right time for us to do something beneficial for future generations,” said Binu G Verghese, chairman of Building 1, who conceptualised the project. “Awareness about solar power led to four of the complex’s seven societies adopting such projects, with cumulative installed capacity of 535kWp, making it one the largest residential solar projects in India.”
According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), a 1-kWp solar rooftop plant can generate an average of 5 kilowatt hour (kWh) electricity per day (assuming 5.5 sunshine hours). With 180 kWp, the society will generate an average of 900 kWh. For a comparison, a two bedroom-kitchen apartment in Mumbai uses 10-12 kWh electricity per day.
Residents also expect reduced costs in the coming months. Shrikanth Swaminathan, resident and committee member, said, “We were paying an average ₹4.50 lakh per month on electricity expenses. It will be reduced by 65%. The idea was to move towards green energy and make better use of abundant sunlight, reducing dependency on coal and fossil fuels, which cause pollution.”
The cost of setting up the plant, ₹98 lakh, will be recovered within four years, residents said. “Reduction in carbon emission for the project is equivalent to planting 7,200 teak trees. It was a unanimous decision to adopt it by all committee members,” said Navin Sethi, resident.
“Citizens have come together to adopt renewable energy means in a democratic manner, which sets an example for residential areas across India to go green,” said Shyam Asolekar, professor, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, who inaugurated the project.