Akal University in Punjab’s Bhatinda is the latest entrant in a rapidly evolving league of educational institutions that have chosen to harness solar power to take care of their electricity expenditure while also playing their part in combating climate change.
The university announced that it had installed a 1.2 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project for ₹52 million (~$0.75 million). The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has provided a subsidy of ₹17 million (~$0.25 million) for this project.
This is the largest solar PV project installed by a rural educational institution, according to the official statement of the Akal University. This solar PV project will generate more than 80 percent of power requirements of the university and 13 Akal academies.
While inaugurating the project, the managing director of Solar Energy Corporation of India, Jatindra Nath Swain, said, “Solar power generation is a measure of sustainability, and I am happy to see that Kalgidhar Society is harnessing the sun for making the education system more sustainable. Along with solar, we also need to pay attention towards water conservation and rainwater harvesting to tackle the problem of climate change.”
This solar PV project will reduce 35,000 metric tons of carbon emission over 25 years, making the planet greener. Annual savings in power bills are expected to be more than ₹10 million (~$0.14 million). “The carbon reduction impact of the project during its lifetime is equivalent to the planting of 82,000 trees which will add to the conservation of energy and environment,” said J.P. Singh, the solar consultant for the project.
Solar initiatives undertaken by the educational institutions are setting a good example for the rest of the country. Not only will this make the country adopt a sustainable and economical source of power, but it will also support the overall growth trajectory of the rooftop solar sector.
Recently, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI) in Lucknow installed 1.1 MW of solar PV projects which will help the institute save approximately ₹6 million (~$85,646.99) annually in energy expenditure.
Previously, Mercom reported that Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) added a new grid-connected solar power project on its premises, taking the total installed solar capacity in the university to 6.5 MW. This rooftop project was also installed under SECI’s program. AMU has the largest solar power project among all academic institutions in the country.
Moreover, Tripura University also installed rooftop solar systems totaling 500 kW at its premises, spread over multiple buildings at the university campus. This is the first university in northeast India to have installed a solar project of this scale.
In December 2018, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Indore joined the league of green campuses in the country by installing 422 kW solar rooftop system in its premises. Around the same time, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) also installed a 500 kW rooftop solar system to light up its classrooms. Mumbai’s St Xavier’s High School has also installed a 35 kW rooftop solar system to save approximately ₹700,000 (~$9,726) every year on its electricity bill.
In November 2018, Mercom reported on the news of Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia University installing a 2.25 MW Rooftop Solar Project. In July 2018, Amity University installed rooftop solar PV projects aggregating 1.8 MW across three campuses. In May 2018, IIT Kharagpur had invited an expression of interest to develop 5.5 MW of solar projects. In May 2018, Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in Uttarakhand’s Pantnagar town also tendered a 5 MW grid-connected rooftop solar PV project.
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.