Published: 31st December 2018
Bangalore University now becomes the first in Karnataka to go the solar way to generate electricity
In a conversation with the Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University, we find out how they have been able to adopt cost-cutting by installing solar panels on campus
Spread across 500 acres, Bangalore University houses over 50 academic and administrative departments. As a result, they incur massive expenses with electricity topping the list at over ₹10 lakh per month. To tackle this issue and work on cost-cutting, the 54-year-old university has installed solar panels on the roofs of its various departments, becoming the first state university in Karnataka to generate its own electricity using solar panels. While the project was executed in early September, it became operational only from October 20. It was inaugurated on October 25 by the Chief Minister of Karnataka, HD Kumaraswamy.
Talking about the amount of money the university is able to save after the installation of the solar panels, Vice-Chancellor Professor Venugopal K R says, "These solar panels have been installed on the roofs of the Library block, Management Studies, Journalism department, Administrative block, Architecture department and Geology department. The energy that's generated is 530 kWh. According to our estimation, we will be able to save around ₹1.50 crore per year." Now, that's massive savings for the university and the environment. Explaining more, he says, "While the solar panels generate 530 kWh, the amount of electricity used by the university is only 300 kWH. The panels here are connected to the nearest BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company) grid. Once the energy is transmitted to the grid, we buy energy from them. Earlier, we used to pay ₹8 per unit and now, we are paying ₹3.90 per unit."
Sunny days at BU: Solar panels installed on Bangalore University's building roof. They generate around 530 kWh (Pic:Rashmi Patil)
In the meanwhile, the university has planned to use the excess energy generated between 10 am to 3 pm for street lights inside the campus. With this, they are hoping to reduce the daily consumption of energy from 300 kWH to 230 kWH. And it's not just about the cost or consumption of energy, the staff and students are happy that this initiative has helped reduce the carbon footprint too. So, how much did they incur to buy and fit these solar panels? Nothing! This project was executed free of cost by a company called Think Energy that was shortlisted by the Central Government for their project of adopting solar energy in educational institutions.
By using solar panels to generate electricity, we are avoiding the emission of greenhouse gases and that's the biggest contribution to pollution of the environment
Venugopal KR, Vice Chancellor, Bangalore University
"Think Energy will be responsible for the maintenance of the solar panels for a period of 25 years. They will be monitoring the panels via satellite using a concept called Net Metering. Through this concept, the company will get to know about the functioning and non-functioning of batteries inside the panels. They can also learn about the amount of energy generated through each panel," explains Prof Venugopal, who hopes that this initiative will motivate other universities in Karnataka to go green and consume natural energy.