Hello! Sunshine

City-based engineers have used the free space on rooftops to generate electricity using solar energy.

Published: 15th February 2012 11:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 05:56 PM   |  A+A-


Ravi Shankar ( left) explains the system on his rooftop while John Cyriac looks on | Suresh Nampoothiri

BANGALORE: If you are having sleepless nights over the frequent power cuts in your home and if the electricity tariff hike is burning a hole in your pockets, here's some hope.

A resident of HSR Layout and an IIT, Mumbai alumni Ravi Shankar has used the free space available in his rooftop to generate electricity using solar energy, unlike the domestic solar water heater system, which uses the heat from the sun's radiation. NRTSPS (Nano Roof Top Solar Photovoltaic Systems) is the first of its kind in India and has been approved and certified by the CPRI (Central Power Research Institute), BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited), Electrical Inspectorate and the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). He is not alone in this green initiative. John Cyriac, an entrepreneur, has taken care of mass implementation of the project, aptly called SunPV Energy.

Get Paid for your Electricity

The system has 12 (2x6) solar panels (with 1 KWP each) imported from USA, which produces 240 units of power on an average per month. The best part of the Grid-Tied solar PV, is that the electricity generated can not only be used for your own domestic usage, but the surplus can be stored in a maintenance-free VRLA battery at night as reserve and be sold to the State Utility Provider (BESCOM in our case) using a 25 year PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) with a profitable payback and various tax benefits. It is fitted with a remote data monitoring system, which helps you keep a track of energy generated by the plant, pilferage etc.  

When City Express visited this eco-friendly home, what really amused us was a digital bi-directional energy meter near the entrance, fitted to measure the amount of power generated, supply into the grid and also to measure the consumption. When we asked Ravi what did the reading imply as of now, he smiled and said, "The electricity produced is surplus at the moment and BESCOM will have to pay me for this." As much as it sounds unreal, this can soon become a reality if we truly learn to tap the immense power of solar energy. Of course, there are certain compliance's to keep in mind, which will be taken care of, by SunPV Energy.

Ravi added, "According to the KERC (Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission) state order, they are offering Rs 14.50 per unit. BESCOM has offered only Rs 6 per unit. Since the differential composition is yet to be figured out in the policy, as of now I'm supplying power free of cost to BESCOM."

When speculations are rife on the possibility of dark days ahead and the grim power situation in the state, this initiative certainly provides a ray of hope. Fortunately, our country lies in the sunny regions of the world and enjoys abundant solar resources.

When we asked Ravi Shankar the inspiration behind this project, he said, "An article on solar energy in a National Geographic magazine, issue dated September 2009, is what got me thinking. I wondered, why don't we try this is in India, where we can easily tap this power." He added, "For every Rs 100 paid by the State Utility Provider, Rs 30 is lost." India’s electricity grid has the highest transmission and distribution losses in the world- a whopping 27 per cent, according to WRI (World Resources Institute).

Other than providing uninterrupted electricity and getting paid for the electricity you generate, you can avail MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) subsidies for the total cost of the system. If you are a corporate entity, you can enjoy an accelerated depreciation of 80 per cent in the first year of the investment. And to make your own little contribution to the environment, this system could save an average of a tonne of CO2 per year, which is as good as more than 30 tonnes in its lifetime. So, if you have unutilised space in your roof top, you can generate your own electricity. For any questions or a free assessment of your rooftop and investment illustration, visit http://www.sunpvenergy.com/signup or ravi@sunpvenergy.com

In a box: Grid-Tied solar installation has the ability to sell to your local electricity company (ESCOM) and requires specific quality certifications. SunPV Energy has already obtained the certifications for its technology and has successfully implemented Grid Tied solar for supplying electricity to BESCOM in Karnataka. These certifications are on an all India level and is applicable in any state in India.

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