Here's how Pondicherry University manages to save one crore in energy bills

A huge chunk of the credit goes to their massive solar power plant which has been installed on the campus  
Pondicherry University | (Pic: Express)
Pondicherry University | (Pic: Express)

By making the most of renewable sources and optimising energy use, Pondicherry University in Puducherry has managed to save a whopping one crore in its annual energy bills. The reduction in costs is a long endeavour which is the result of several measures taken over the last few years, the officials said. It is to be noted that to power the whole campus via electricity, the costs come up to Rs 75 lakh monthly and the officials stated that they switched to sustainable energy management, with a special focus on renewable sources, to meet the ever-increasing power demand.

It was back in 2018 that Vice-Chancellor Gurmeet Singh directed the high-tension electricity lines overhead to be made underground lines so as to prevent distribution loss and power failure which happen due to bird hits. This would also cut down on the fuel cost required to power generators. The switch to LED lighting was also made. Now, they are installing 139 multifunction meters and energy management software which will monitor the quality and quantum of power, as per a report in The Hindu. Additionally, the solar panels across the campus generate 2.4 megawatt which is worth approximately Rs 13 crore. This 2.4-megawatt solar power project, which was launched in March 2021, has been one of the most vital steps taken by the university.

The plant is based on the RESCO model (where a company develops, operates and owns the plant and offers power to the client) and is said to be the largest installation undertaken by an educational institution in India. The Assistant Registrar and university spokesman K Mahesh said they are saving nine lakh on a monthly basis when it comes to their energy bill and funneling one lakh units to the Puducherry power grid each month.

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A 500 KVA diesel generator has been installed by the university apart from an HT feeder and fire safety and firefighting equipment — all of which have cost them Rs 7.14 crore. A third of the power requirement is met via non-conventional energy which is being generated for captive consumption and it is up to 2,900 tonnes per year that the carbon emissions will be cut. The spokesperson added to The Hindu that, now, the rooftop solar installations will be expanded to make the campus into a fully solar-powered one.

Situated on a green campus which is spread over 780 acres, Pondicherry University on the East Coast Road has 15 schools, 50 departments and centres, a Central Instrumentation Facility, library, hostels and a host of other facilities.

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