news Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 05:30
By Benita Chacko In his speech in Toronto today, Prime Minister Modi spoke of his dream of a saffron revolution, the colour saffron symbolising energy. He told his audience that he wants to see India undertaking an energy revolution with renewable energy resources, “India is moving towards 175 GigaWatts (gW) of renewable energy- 100 gW of solar energy and 75 gW of wind energy.” Bangalore seems to have already taken a step towards this saffron revolution. On Thursday, Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore became the first cricket stadium in India to adopt solar power by installing a 400 kW rooftop solar plant. Karnataka State Cricket Association will be greatly benefitted from this green step. Earlier due to BESCOM’s frequent tariff revision, the stadium could never predict their energy cost, now they would be able to do that. More importantly, it will drastically bring down their electricity bill. Brijesh Patel, secretary, KSCA says that the stadium consumes about 16 lakh units of power annually and spends more than Rs 1 crore over power consumption. Moreover, they will receive their return on investment in just four to five years. It is also hoped to be a boon for the state as the energy saved here can be diverted to other places that are in need of energy. Srinivas Kumar, the CEO of RenXSol Ecotech, the company that undertook the designing, engineering and the project management for the installation of the solar panels, says, “It is the only source of energy that can be completely set up by the individual. It requires no permissions from the government and can be set up in any location.” The panels have been installed on the roofs of the eastern stands and are capable of producing 1,700 units every day. This is sufficient to cater to about 40-50% of the stadium’s annual requirement. This is said to reduce the carbon emission by 600 tonnes annually. However, the floodlights will not be fuelled by solar power. Using the net metering system, the surplus electricity generated will be sent to the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) grid with Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) earning Rs. 9.56 per unit. Srinivas Kumar also said that they faced some challenges in the designing due to the old structure of the stadium. The height of the stands, at about 70 feet from the ground, was also a major challenge. In spite of these challenges, the Rs. 4.5 crore project was completed in a short span of 50 days, says Kumar with pride. MROTEK, a Bangalore based firm, has worked on the implementation of the project. They say the only maintenance that the plant requires is in terms of dust clearance and that will be taken care of by sprinklers that are set up along with the panels. KSCA hopes to take their green initiative forward in the next phase by installing solar panels on the Western stands as well. It also plans to install sewage treatment plants to use treated water in the stadium. Highlighting the importance of solar energy Kumar says, “We have identified 50 villages which are still using diesel, an expensive fuel, for their energy needs. If a company takes up this cause for their Community Social Responsibility (CSR) activity, then these villages could benefit from solar power.” Picture Courtesy: RenXSol Ecotech

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