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Corporation to save Rs 22 lakh a month with solar panels atop buildings

CHENNAI: In a green move as part of the Smart City Mission, a network of solar panels, inverters, and bi-directional net meters are being installed across several corporation-owned buildings to harness clean energy. The civic body expects to save around Rs 22 lakh a month on electricity bills once the solar panels are in place on all 662 buildings.

Solar panels have been installed in 460 buildings so far, and six of them have begun harnessing power. The project received approval last August.

“Panels and inverters being installed in a swift pace. Once all the 662 buildings are covered with solar panels, our monthly bills will be cut by an average of Rs 22 lakh,” said an official. The electrical department of the civic body currently incurs the highest power bills on street lights and buildings.

The project to install solar rooftops at corporation buildings has been on the back burner for several years now.

The Communicable Diseases Hospital in Tondiarpet will get panels with the maximum capacity of producing 100kW — the largest among all corporation buildings. The capacity of solar panels installed atop the new corporation zonal office building in Manali, Ambattur and Amma Maaligai, Ripon Buildings, are 78kW, 60kW, and 53kW.

While the maximum capacity of power generation from 9,192 solar panels that will be installed across these 662 buildings is 3.064MW, factors such as the number of hours sunlight is available and intensity of rays influence the production of energy.

Solar panels utilize solar energy to generate direct current (DC), inverters are used to convert DC into alternating current (AC). Bi-directional net meters are procured from Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) to be installed along the buildings for redirecting the generated power to the grid.

“The average monthly energy generation from these panels will be 3.6 lakh units,” said an official involved in the project, who added that the civic body has written to Tangedco for procuring net meters for the remaining buildings. The project is being implemented at a cost of Rs 24 crore including a five-year maintenance period.

The target set by the state in 2012 through the Solar Energy Policy to generate 3,000MW solar energy by 2015 was not achieved. Read More..