Three retired Air Force squadrons who served in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistan wars, are now leading a campaign for clean energy at their residential society in Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri, Mumbai.
Squadron leaders PK Purushe, AC Kalele and BS Rathode installed 40 solar panels atop their 14-storey Trishul Cooperative Housing Society (CHS) at Lokhandwala in November 2016, according to the Hindustan Times.
The initiative was declared a massive success when the monthly bills dropped a 98% from ₹20,000 to ₹350. The cost of the solar project was ₹8.38 lakh.
The housing society comprises 120 people living in 42 flats, and 20 retired Indian Air Force officers.
“Apart from reducing electricity bills, we wanted to leave something behind for the future generations and make them understand the importance of harnessing energy from the sun,” Purushe, who was in-charge of operations across the Northeast during the two wars told the publication.
Convincing the residents of the benefits of the solar panels was not an easy task admits Kalele, former pilot in-charge of flying paratroopers.
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“We learnt about the benefits of solar from the residents of a nearby complex and a detailed presentation from the private company that installed ours.We are yet to inform the other residents about the 98% drop in the electricity bills. I am sure their perspective will change,” he said.
The solar energy generated currently powers lights at the staircases, water pumps and common areas in the housing society. “We are saving more than ₹17,000 a month and expect our annual savings to touch ₹2.4 lakh,” Rathode, former pilot in-charge of an entire fleet of HS748 aircrafts told HT.
Breaking away from burning coal and fossil fuels to generate electricity, the 10 kilowatt (kW) solar system atop Thrishul society uses polycrystalline panels. The panels spread across 1,000 sq ft generate about 40 kilowatthour (kW-h) electricity per day. Generally, a city house with two bedrooms on an average uses 8 to 10 kW-h electricity daily.
The power generated can be as high as 63kW-h on a sunny day, and can drop to 15kW-h per day during the monsoons according to Sishir Garemella, founder and chief executive officer, Sunvest Energy Private Limited, who installed the solar panels.
“We hope that solar panels will become a consumer product on every rooftop in Mumbai in the years to come,” he said.
The renewable energy source is expected to benefit not only the residents, but also areas in the city where electricity is inadequate. The net metering system installed at the building allows surplus power generated by solar panels to be transported back to the grid. In case of a shortfall, the society will be charged by the power supplier only for the net usage.
This residential society, in addition to saving electricity, has been segregating 10kg of dry and wet waste for the last four years before sending it to the city dumps. It has also planted 20 fruit trees in its compound.
A senior official from the state government praised the effort of the war heroes by saying, “We salute the war veterans for protecting us in the past and setting an example with this initiative. Stalwarts like them will be seen as role models by generations to come.”
Connect to Sunvest Energy Pvt Ltd here.
Feature Image Credit: Hindustan Times