New Delhi: To give impetus to its green energy initiative and to cut the electricity expense of public schools, the Delhi Government has undertaken the installation of rooftop solar panels in school buildings. According to an official from state government’s Department of Education, the installation has been completed in 21 school buildings till now while installation for 80 more buildings is going on and is expected to be completed soon. The move is in line with the Delhi government’s flagship programme to make the national capital a solar city in the coming years. It will also contribute to achieving its target of generating 2,000 Mega Watt (MW) electricity through solar power by 2025, as stated in the Delhi Solar Energy Policy, 2016. According to Delhi’s solar policy, deployment of solar panels on government and public institutions is mandatory.
While talking to NDTV about the solar initiative, the official said,
The solar panels meet almost 100 per cent of energy needs of these buildings except for the peak consumption hours when electricity demand is the highest in which case, there is a need to buy grid-based power from local electricity distribution companies (DISCOMs). The schools are using solar energy to light their classrooms, corridors, toilets, canteens and campus street lights. We have a total of 740 buildings with 1100 schools running (in shifts) in those. We are in the process of rolling out a tender for the rooftop solar panel for more buildings with an aim to connect all the buildings with renewable energy. Once the transition from conventional to solar is completed, it will surely bring a major impact not only in terms of cost cutting but also in terms of environmental conservation and an attitude change from student exposed to green energy from early age.
The solar project for schools was commissioned in 2017 at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Andrews Ganj. The official further informed that the solar panels installed in 21 schools with an investment of Rs. 4.2 crore are generating 620 kiloWatt (kW) of power per day which translates to 2,232 units per day, on an average when the sun is shining bright.
Apart from reducing dependence on power generated from fossil fuel like coal, which is a major source of air pollution, and making a switch to a greener source of electricity, these solar power installations also mean that the schools are generating their own power. An official from Indraprastha Power Generation Company Limited (IPGCL), an electricity generation company of the Government of Delhi that has commissioned the solar project in the capital told NDTV that Delhi government’s push for solar power has reduced the dependence of government schools on grid electricity. The official further informed that the buildings generating power using solar panels are connected with ‘net metering’ with the local DISCOMs (Distribution Companies). Through net metering, electricity generated by the solar rooftop system of the schools is first utilized to meet the internal requirements after which the excess electricity is exported to the local DISCOM grid. Subsequently, when the schools import power from the grid when there’s no sunlight to produce energy, it is adjusted against the amount of electricity exported and so over time the electricity bill goes down and can even become zero if the amount exported exceeds the electricity imported. As per the official, the project is helping schools save Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 40,000 per month each. Thus, an estimated sum of Rs. 5.35 lakhs is being saved by 21 schools every month at the current DISCOM tariff of Rs. 8 per unit.
Education Minister Manish Sisodiya took to social media on Tuesday after inspecting the solar project in one of the schools and said,
Successful pilot of terrace solar panels in Delhi Government Schools. Electricity bill of this school reduces from Rs.35,000 to Zero. Already installed in 21, being installed in 100, the plan is to install in a total of 500 schools important step towards power independence for Delhi!
Successful pilot of terrace solar panels in #DelhiGovtSchools
Electricity bill of this school reduces from Rs.35,000 to Zero.
Already installed in 21, being installed in 100, plan is to install in a total of 500 schools
Important step towards power independence for Delhi! pic.twitter.com/42BMNVItox
— Education Minister (@Minister_Edu) June 11, 2019
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) June 11, 2019
The official said, the project is getting financial assistance of 30 per cent from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the rest of the project cost is being borne by the government of Delhi. He said,
Integrating environmental awareness into the learning process helps students understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment and enable them to make better decisions as citizens of the future. Not only will this make the country adopt a sustainable and economical source of power, but it will also help the overall growth trajectory of the rooftop solar sector. While most schools are yet to become sustainable, the Delhi government has taken significant steps towards it.
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