Following the construction of a 16 kW solar power plant in February 2019 in its premises, Shah Complex IV, a residential complex situated in Navi Mumbai’s Sanpada area, also installed three solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations in April.
The installation was completed by Magenta Power, a Mumbai-based firm involved in installing renewable energy solutions and electric vehicle mobility infrastructure.
According to news reports, this is the first such project inside a private residential complex in Maharashtra and one of the first in India.
“Any potential EV owner in India fears one thing the most—charging their vehicle. Do you need to first set up the charging infrastructure and then purchase an EV, or is it the other way around? In that sense, Shah Complex IV has been a visionary housing society in setting up these charging stations. With this facility, residents can seriously consider purchasing an electric vehicle instead of a conventional one,” says Arun Harihar Rao, Executive Director of Magenta Power, speaking to The Better India.
Like many other societies, Shah Complex IV wanted to go solar. Working with the housing society, Magenta Power first constructed and installed the solar plant, and during the process, their idea of setting up EV charging stations received the go-ahead. Setting up both facilities cost Rs 13 lakh.
The solar power plant has helped bring their common electric utility bills to zero. Earlier the average monthly bill for the building would range from Rs. 22,000 to Rs. 25,000.
Meanwhile, each charging station has a capacity of 3.3 kW. These are AC chargers meant for community use. Residents can plug their vehicle for overnight charging, as it does not possess the fill-as-you-go quick one-hour charging facility.
Apart from the added comfort and convenience, the society also started to generate additional revenue (which was not the agenda) as there are no EV charging stations in the vicinity.
“As a responsible society, we decided to go solar to leave behind liveable earth for our children. The fact that we are now getting a zero bill is a bonus for us. However, upon realizing that the future is all about EVs, we decided to leverage the solar plant to power the EV charging stations as well. We are thrilled to be among the first few societies in India to lead the way in achieving this status,” says Venkateswaran, the Secretary of Shah Complex IV.
He claims that the residents have received these initiatives exceptionally well.
“We had first explored the potential of setting up a solar plant two years ago. After much investigation, we came across Magenta Power. They first sent a team to talk to the residents about the potential of going solar. This talk generated much excitement, following which we went ahead with the project,” he states.
There are 56 households in this housing society, which approximately amounts to over 200 residents. If more people in society are encouraged to go electric, Rao agrees that the company will need to build more charging stations, faster ones and those with different designs where say a single charger has multiple ports.
“As demand kicks in further, we will continue to develop these charging stations accordingly,” he adds.
For the time being, Magenta Power has pitched this idea of setting up solar power plants and EV-charging stations to at least 10-15 residential complexes across Navi Mumbai and the western suburbs of the city including Andheri, besides Kandivali in North Mumbai.
Nonetheless, there are critical challenges in expanding the number of EVs you can charge in a housing society. Rao says this particularly a concern in older housing complexes, where the primary problem is the lack of space.
“Many complexes in Navi Mumbai, for example, do not even have a parking space for their residents, who then park their cars on the street. That becomes a roadblock because the street does not belong to the housing society. Having said that, we are speaking to an under-construction housing society in Kandivali area, where there are 500 homes within that society, and the builder has built 500 parking stations. He has promised that each parking space would be EV-enabled. Some builders in Mumbai are using the promise of an EV charging station as a promotional tool too,” informs Rao.
In the event India goes 100% electric, most of the charging will be done in private parking facilities at homes. If the future is indeed electric, Shah Complex IV indeed has a head start.
Environmentally responsible and resource-efficient buildings are becoming an integral part of India’s future as effects of climate grow more pronounced, and Shah Complex has taken that step forward.
Will others follow suit?
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)