Imagine cutting your electricity bill from Rs 1 lakh per month to nearly Rs 5,000. It might sound impossible, but this housing society in Dattanagar, Pune, has made it a reality.

The 216 flats in MSR-Olive Co-Op Housing Society were consuming huge amounts of electricity, forcing residents to pay huge bills and maintenance charges.

“At the time, the Maharashtra Government announced online gridding of solar power. It offered a 30% subsidy and allowed excess electricity to be introduced into the main grid,” says Ravindra Akolkar, the chairman of the society.

So, the residents collectively decided to install solar panels in 2016. They spent about Rs 31 lakh to install a 50 kW solar panel on their terrace.

“The electricity tariff was about Rs 11 per unit then, and it saved us Rs 10.8 lakh during the first year. Satisfied with the savings, we spent another Rs 15 lakh to set up an additional solar power unit of 30 kW to meet the electricity requirements,” he says.

Ravindra informs that the residential society loaned the amount at the interest rate of 9% and was able to recover the amount in just three years.

“The investment recovery came despite the maintenance of the solar panels, which cost Rs 2 lakh a year. The remaining 22 years of electricity will be for free,” he says.

The move is expected to save 1,517 tonnes of CO2 emissions and Rs 16.04 crore in its lifetime, informed the chairman.

“Being environmentally conscious is the need of the hour, and more people should take steps towards it,” says Ravindra.