With the onset of summer, one can almost foresee the impending rise in temperatures and blistering heat. Those who can afford air conditioning would probably not step out of their cool zones, but what about the countless people who have to travel to schools and workplaces?
Not everyone can afford an AC, especially a government school.
However, by taking the pioneering step of installing solar-powered ACs in its dining hall, Cotton Hill Lower Primary School (LPS) in Thiruvananthapuram has set a revolutionary precedent for not just energy conservation but also sustainability.
The dining hall of the school, which can easily accommodate about 200 students at a time, is now equipped with three 1.5 ton solar ACs and to power these, a set of 12 solar panels each with the energy generation capacity of 250W have been propped up on the rooftop of the hall.
This move probably makes the school the first educational institution in the state to incorporate such an eco-friendly solution to beat the heat.
These ACs work on a power-sharing basis in collaboration with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and don’t follow the usual ‘on/off grid’ technology.
“The power from the panel is connected directly to the AC. The model is highly efficient in saving energy. On a very sunny day, the amount of energy consumed from the grid will be less than one unit!” Shyam Kumar, the technical director of Megabyte Technologies that had set up the plant in the school, told The New Indian Express.
The best part is that the school will have to depend on the regular power supply by KSEB only in the absence of solar power. The authorities have worked out an inverter-backed system that won’t stop the ACs from working even during power outages.
Also, these ACs follow a reverse cycle technology and act according to the weather. This means that in winter, it will substitute as a heater.
“Energy saved equals energy generated. If we are to install this in our government organisations and schools, several megawatts of power can be saved. Then we needn’t go ahead with projects that are detrimental to the environment,” Shyam Kumar added.
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The entire project, which could be rightfully cited as the farewell gift to the school by now-retired headmistress Celine, was successfully accomplished on a budget of ₹15 lakhs routed from the MP fund of AK Antony.
Apart from air conditioning, the young ones of the LP school will have the opportunity to share their lunch in the hall vivified with colourful drawings of animals. The school is currently gearing up to inaugurate its novel, solar initiative.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)