Higher Education Institutions in Kochi adopt renewable energy to go green and reduce carbon footprint

Colleges and universities are implementing renewable energy sources such as solar panels and windmills to meet their energy needs, while also selling excess energy back to the grid
Picture for representation purpose only | Pic: EdexLive
Picture for representation purpose only | Pic: EdexLive

Higher education institutions in Kochi, Kerala have adopted the motto of "green energy" on their campuses by implementing renewable energy sources such as solar panels and windmills. These efforts not only provide power for the schools' use but also allow them to sell excess energy back to the grid, according to a report by The New Indian Express.

Some of these institutions have even been recognised for their green power initiatives. For example, Sacred Heart College at Thevara's EnCon club coordinator, Dr Mathew George, reported that the college's installation of a windmill made it the first and possibly only educational institution in the state to generate electricity through wind power. "The college was awarded the Energy Conservation Award for the year 2021-22 for our green power initiatives," he said.

According to George the windmill at Sacred Heart College in Kochi, Kerala can generate 1kWp of power and the school plans to upgrade its capacity to 20kWp shortly. In addition to the wind power, the college already generates 140 kWp of solar power through panels installed on its roof. However, George noted that windmills are less viable than solar panels due to the requirement for an area consistently exposed to wind to harness energy effectively.

Fortunately, the college's location near the Vembanad Lake allows for uninterrupted wind throughout the day, making it a suitable location for the windmill. The power generated by the windmill will be used to power some laboratories or the office, according to The New Indian Express. Dr Roby Cherian, the Head of the Physics Department, provided valuable guidance for the project.

In addition to Sacred Heart College at Thevara's use of both wind and solar energy, several other major colleges in Kochi, Kerala have turned to solar power to meet their energy needs. These institutions include St Teresa's College, Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, UC College Aluva, St Xavier's College, and Bharath Matha College.

St Teresa's College Principal Alphonsa Vijaya stated that the school's electricity requirements are completely met through solar energy. "We also got the energy conservation award for the year 2021-22. Besides, using solar power, we have got LED lights in all our classrooms and offices. We want to reduce the carbon footprint," she told The New Indian Express report.

St Xavier's College, Aluva too has solar power to meet some of their electricity requirements. "We have 24 solar panels producing 8kWp of electricity," said Liss Maries, assistant professor at St Xavier's College.

Rajagiri College of Social Sciences in Kalamassery, Kerala became the first college in the state to be fully powered by solar energy. The solar panels, which cover an area of 30,000 sq ft across the college's buildings, produce a daily maximum of 1,372 units and an average of 1,016 units per day.

This solar energy production fully supports the college, eliminating the need to pay for electricity consumption, which amounts to an average of 30,360 kWh per month. According to George, the use of renewable energy sources in the college is meant to educate students about the importance of going green and conserving energy.

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