Solar power generation is the way to low cost power since it does not create any sort of environmental pollution
Kalady is the birthplace of Sree Sankaracharya, the proponent of Advaita doctrine which gave a new life to Sanatan Dharma, the centre of Bharat and its culture. Now, the very same birth-place of Sree Sankaracharya draws the attention of the entire realm of academics for a different reason. Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit (SSUS) has proved numero uno in using solar energy for power purposes. Last year the university installed the solar energy equipment for 100 KWp power generation. Here ‘p’ stands for peak hours, that is, the hours of maximum sunshine. The installation can generate 400 to 500 units per day, which is 12,000 to 15,000 units per month. But during rainy and cloudy days, power generation comes down to 30 to 50 KWp. The SSUS’s requirement is said to be 200 KWp. But the huge installation compelled the varsity to restrict the installation capability to 100 KWp. They have already picked up the tab for Rs 83 lakh in this regard.
R Vineeth, a young electrical engineer of the university, gave the necessary information to this correspondent about their ambitious renewable energy project.The SSUS’s installation is ‘On Grid’ aka ‘Grid Tied’ system. There is no storage battery in this system. It is again due to the thrift, because the battery requirement costs Rs 20 lakh. So, they have not gone for the ‘Off Grid’ system with battery facilities. In the ‘On Grid’ system the balance power, if there is any, after consumption, will be passed on to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB); when there is deficit, KSEB’s power can be availed. KSEB rates for SSUS, being an academic institution, are approx. Rs 5.40 per unit during day time whereas it is approx Rs 7.40 during night. The commercial establishments have to pay approx. Rs 12.50 per unit in Kerala. Rates are fixed by Kerala Electricity Regulatory Authority.
SSUS’s average power requirement is 25,000 units per month. Solar panels give them an average generation of 12,000 units per month. Vineeth says, “It will take ten years before the capital investment amount is realised by generating and consuming power from the solar installation.”
Varsity authorities believe that solar power generation is the right way for low cost power since it does not create any sort of environmental pollution like coal-based and diesel-based power generation does. SSUS has installed the panels on roof top so that the greenery in the campus is not spoiled. SSUS is famous for several species of plants and trees giving an ashram-like landscape to the campus. Even though university stands in Kalady Town, about 45 kms from Kochi, but once when one enters the campus it gives an entirely rural look. Trees, plants, flowers, fruits, natural lawns, etc. give the view of a remote country side. Therefore, the varsity’s endeavour, without disturbing the environmental and ecological balance, for renewable energy is really a laudable initiative.
University hopes to get a reasonable subsidy from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).