In a remarkable move to save enegry the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) are all set to go green by April-end. IIT-B stand out against other iit's in many aspects let it be placements, fests etc and this time it is in the process of generating around 1 MW power using solar photovoltaic technology to cut down on the electricity spent and to promote the use of clean energy. With 1 MW solar power, 1.5 million units of electricity can be generated. On an average, any urban household consumes 1,000-1,500 units per year. A rough estimate shows solar energy can cost half the current electricity expenditure. A few other IITs will soon follow the suit.
IIT-B had formed a green campus committee to initiate the project. The electricity generated will be sufficient for 27% of the academic buildings on the 500-acre Powai campus. "We have chosen academic buildings that have enough room on the roof to set up the photovoltaic panels. We are in the process of purchasing the panels and have placed orders. Currently, we are aiming at generating 1MW, however, the institute has potential to install panels that can generate around 2.5 MW power, which we will target soon," said Chetan Singh Solanki, an associate professor in the department of energy science and engineering. Solanki is also a member of a similar committee in IIT-Indore, where he plans to promote the same idea of using solar power for the campus. According to him, one more IIT is toying with the idea of using solar power.
"At present, we pay Rs 11-12 for a unit of electricity, but with solar energy, the cost will be halved as one unit will cost us only Rs 5-6," said Solanki. The Victor Menezes Convention Centre, mechanical, civics, physics, metallurgical, computer science, electrical engineering departments, etc, are some of the buildings that will be powered by solar energy. The consumption of each department varies and that has been accounted for.
IIT-B's green campus committee is doing a full-time research in sustainable energy. "The idea is to demonstrate it to other academic institutions. Institutions like IITs should lead such initiatives," said Solanki. According to him, academic institutions do not need high power density, have enough surface area on their huge campuses and should therefore make use of solar technology. "The cost of solar photovoltaic technology has gone down drastically and therefore it is economically viable too," he added.
Incidentally, at a IIT council meeting held in December last year, it was decided that each franchise would establish a green office that would carry out green audits and ensure inclusion of green technology-related topics/courses in the curriculum.