Between 2017 and 2019, Nyati Windchimes, a 200-apartment society in Undri, Pune, erected 45KW of rooftop solar energy generation panels, resulting in the output of 200 units of green electricity every day.
Windchimes' common facilities consume a significant amount of energy due to the heavy operating loads of a RO plant (since 100% of water is delivered via tankers), a 24/7 operating sewage treatment plant, ten elevators spread across five buildings, swimming pool filtration, and street lighting, with average monthly electricity bills in the range of Rs. 3.5 lacs.
After some initial reservations about investing in solar, the locals opted in 2017 to begin with a 20 KW installation. Following that, two additional phases with 15KW and 8KW systems were installed, bringing the total installed capacity to 45 KW. The entire investment in the three stages was around Rs. 31.0 lacs, with an expected return of approximately 44.5 years, as our per-unit grid pricing was at the highest slab of Rs. 15/unit due to monthly use of above 1000 units on each metre, according to WC Chairman Avinash Kapoor.
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"Net metering has aided us because we are now able to benefit from the lighting load as well. However, prior to installation, the managing committee conducted an hour-by-hour analysis of daily usage on each metre in order to properly size the system. This was done to avoid excess generation being sent into the grid prior to the installation of net metres (which takes many months). Additionally, we moved some day loads on this metre to ensure that the generation was utilised entirely.
Solar generation has assisted us in lowering the consumption slab on our MSEB metres, which has resulted in a reduction in our bill amount. The essential requirement for rooftop solar systems is monthly cleaning of the solar panels to preserve generation efficiency, as well as inspecting the cable terminations (which may corrode due to exposure to the environment) and the inverter's health."
Green solar energy generation has also aided Nyati Windchimes in its transition to a more environmentally friendly society. Apart from this, a team of volunteers from Nyati Windchimes led by Shyam Khante and Kaushal Gupta has built a Miyawaki forest on both sides of the road going to the society to reduce its environmental footprint. This endeavour has been entirely voluntary over the last five years, with around 7000 trees planted in the area.
Arrangements have been made to cultivate these plants using Windchimes STP treated water. The woodland has now become self-sustaining due to the presence of numerous birds. Windchimes has also placed several nests for little birds on their trees in order to boost the sparrow population.
When inhabitants of an Airoli housing society installed solar panels a week ago, they expected to save money on their electricity bill.
However, the 65 families who live at Goodwill Harmony not only have access to electricity 24 hours a day, but also contribute surplus energy to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL).
Solar energy has been used to power the housing society's common areas.
"The 25KW rooftop solar panel is connected to a 25KW MSEDCL electricity grid," stated MK Agarwal, chairman of the housing society. It creates 100 units of energy each day, which we use to power two lifts, a water pump, and common area lighting. We invested 15 lakh in the panels, which we aim to recoup within three years."
On the rooftop, more than 70 solar panels with switchgears have been placed.
The housing society benefits from a discount on monthly bills as a result of the green move.
The monthly electricity bill for the housing society's communal areas is 45,000. Residents that install solar panels save at least 80% on their utility bills.
"Many housing societies approach us for assistance in installing grid-connected solar panels," an MSEDCL official explained. We encourage housing societies to embrace green measures because they will minimise their need on us in the long run."
"We have already embraced garbage composting," A Rangnatha, a committee member of Goodwill Harmony, said. The civic body has recognised our efforts, as our objective is to promote a clean and green city."
"This move will inspire other housing societies to follow suit," said Tushar Pawar, deputy commissioner solid waste management and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.
Other housing societies in Panvel and Navi Mumbai have solar panels installed.
Tulsi Prerna housing society, which comprises 224 flats in Sector 1 of Khanda Colony, has been generating solar energy for the last 1.5 years with the installation of a 90 KW solar power plant.
It generates 400 kilowatts of electricity daily, which is used by residents to operate eight elevators, five water pumps, and five air conditioning in the club house.
"Our housing society's electricity bill has decreased. We conserve electricity for use during rainstorms. Other housing societies have followed suit," said Anand Gharat, 45, a committee member of Tulsi Prerna housing society.
Solar panels have already been erected on the rooftops of Hex Blox in Sector 10 in Kharghar, Yash Paradise in Airoli, and Jalvayu Vihar in Kharghar.
Residents of Hex blox spent Rs. 70 lakh two years ago to construct 150KW solar panels.
Solar energy powers the building's 12 elevators, 24 water pumps, gymnasium, jacuzzi, and 500 lights in communal spaces.
"We held a session to educate people about the benefits of solar panels. It was economical for a large housing society like ours," said Krishna Jha, 46, a society member. Other housing societies are seeking assistance from members who have solar panels installed.
"We intend to install solar panels on the roof of our building. We are currently finalising the job. We visited societies in Khanda Colony and Kharghar to gauge the cost of installation and maintenance," explained Vishal Rane, a committee member of Bhoomi Gardenia in Kamothe.
Commonly asked questions from housing societies before installing solar power plant:
1) Timeline of installation:
Ans: The solar plant is installed within 20 days (upto 50kW size). The net meter change work can take upto 15 more days and it is completely dependent on the DICSOM working speed.
2) What is the maintenance after installing solar on housing society:
Ans: As solar power plants don’t have any kind of moving parts, the regular maintenance of any solar plant is mostly limited to cleaning of the solar panels. Once every 6 months, the connectors need to be checked to see any visible sign of sparking or carbon deposit on wire ends. Generally, Solar EPC companies like Bigwit Energy, monitor the generation of solar plant online and when there is a unwarranted dip in solar generation then automatically triggers a maintenance log to check the voltage levels and current levels of the panels and inverter for any fault detection.
3) Is there any subsidy on the solar power plant being installed:
Ans: Government of India provides with CFA (central financial assistance) or subsidy for solar plants upto 10kW size only. More ever, the make and technology of solar panels is tightly restricted in case of opting for solar plants.
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