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Pune Man Uses Solar Power to Charge EV, Builds Platinum-Rated Green Apartment

How can an apartment complex incorporate ecofriendly features like solar charging for electric vehicles? Pune’s Rahul Rajan shares how he built a sustainable society, earning a platinum rating from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

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Two years ago, 31-year-old Rahul Rajan, a resident of Pune, began the construction of an apartment complex named Scorpio in Fortune Estates, Hadapsar. He is a partner at Oricon Developers, a family-owned construction firm, and took on the project himself because he wanted to do something different.

“During my civil engineering course, I learned that the real estate industry accounts for at least 38% of the carbon footprint in the world. So, while constructing my first apartment, I wanted to ensure that there are facilities that can help reduce emissions. To do so, I spent five years after my graduation learning about green solutions and understanding what works and doesn’t,” he says, adding that his project received a platinum rating from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

In an interview with The Better India, Rahul shares details about the green features in Scorpio and explains how the building has mechanisms to charge electric vehicles using solar power.

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An eco-friendly complex

While Scorpio looks like any other apartment complex from the outside, on the inside there are multiple green features. Common facilities including lifts, lights and water pumps are powered by solar energy, there are solar-powered EV charging stations for every parking space, 100 units of free solar energy for every home, and 24×7 hot water supply, which is also solar-powered.

Moreover, unlike other solar-powered water heating systems, the one in Rahul’s building provides hot water regardless of weather.

“The hot water is supplied through a centralised system called the heat pump. This system uses heat from ambient air to warm the water and expels cool air. The motor that powers the system and supplies water is powered by solar energy,” says Rahul, adding that the expelled air is directed to the hallways of the complex to keep common areas cool.

The common areas are also equipped with LED lights that work through motion sensors.

The building generates up to 5,000 units of solar energy every month, 100 units of which are provided to each home. This can be used to power all appliances. After the completion of 100 units, the houses are powered by utility supply provided by the government.

solar powered apartment in Pune
The solar panels installed in Rahul’s apartment complex.

EV charging stations

While Rahul lives in an independent home, he spends most of his day at Scorpio, which he uses as an office space. The apartment has solar panels covering all portions of the roof, which are connected directly to the power grid. This power is supplied to each home as well as the parking area to charge EVs. Rahul himself owns a Tata Nexon that he charges using solar energy.

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“Both covered as well as open parking spaces have EV charging stations. The one placed in the uncovered area is waterproof,” says Rahul, adding that he charges his Tata Nexon three-four times a month in the building.

Depending on usage, the car goes up to 200-220 kms on one full charge . If he uses the same vehicle on a regular basis, within the city limits, he says that it lasts upto 5 days. By charging his car in the sun, Rahul has made trips outside the city to Mumbai and even to Lonavala.

Currently, the apartment complex has two electric vehicles – Rahul’s car and an electric scooter owned by a tenant.

Rahul says replicating the same system of charging using solar energy is also possible in other apartments. However, it cannot be implemented without getting permission from the housing society to use space on the roof.

He says, “The problem is not technology-based, but human-based. Most societies prefer that their roofs be empty without solar panels.”

If you wish to know more, you can reach out to Rahul through Oricon’s website.

(Edited by Divya Setu) 

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