Come to Central Prison, Poojappura, and one can witness the ‘magic’ of solar energy. The prison, which used to spend as much as Rs 3 lakh per month on electricity bills, is now saving almost the entire amount. Thanks to the solar energy panels commissioned in the prison on October 2.
“Earlier, the prison had an electricity bill of Rs 3 lakh per month. But this month, three-fourths of it was reduced and we hope that it would be nil by next month,” said Director General of Prisons Alexander Jacob.
“We could considerably reduce the electricity consumption after the solar energy panels started functioning,” said the Prison Superintendent, B Pradeep.
Another good news brought by the solar energy panels is that they are expected to reduce, to a great extent, the usage of cooking gas in the prison. “In a year, the usage of cooking gas in the prison costs around Rs 10 lakh. Gradual replacement of cooking gas with solar energy is expected to save expenses on cooking gas also to a great extent,” added the DGP.
His optimism has facts to support. The making of chapatis and chicken curry, an initiative by the prison started one year ago, is now being done using solar energy. In a day, around 35,000 chapatis and at least 8,000 packets of chicken curry are prepared in the prison. “Now, as a major part of cooking in the prison, including that of chapati and chicken curry, is done using solar energy, the expenditure on cooking gas has come down,” said a prison official.
The solar energy system, with a capacity of 129 kilowatts, is just one unit deficient of the daily demand of the prison, around 130 kilowatts, which is needed for the lighting of the compound, lighting in two blocks, fans in one block, working of the solar steam cooking, boiling water, making chapatis and pumping water. It was implemented at a cost of Rs 7.6 crore.