HUBBALLI: The Sun, the very source of life, gives us everything, from essential vitamins to nourishing the environment. As global warming is affecting us in myriad ways, tapping abundant energy from the Sun and using it to replace non-renewable energy sources, like fossil fuels, is the way forward. This architect-cum-solar man from Hubballi, 47-year-old Sanjay Deshpande, has clearly understood this.
Sanjay uses solar power to meet energy needs of his entire house and also office. He drives an electric car and also runs solar-powered pumps to water his garden. In monetary terms, his savings are Rs 18,000 per month and apart from this, he earns Rs 1,000 from the power supply company by selling the solar power he generates.
It was a visit from the father of one of his friends, when Sanjay was studying in Mumbai, that inspired him to start tapping free and green solar power. The friend’s father advised Sanjay to place a solar panel outside the window to protect the room from scorching sunlight and also to generate power to run the fan throughout the night without any disruption.
Sanjay says, “Earlier, I used to pay Rs 4,000 as electricity bill. I have two-electric vehicles, household machinery, pumps to water the terrace garden, fountains and more. Last year, I installed solar panels on the rooftop. I was given permission to set up a solar system that generates an average 4.2 kW of solar energy, which is supplied to the Hubballi Electricity Supply Company (Hescom) after my usage. Hescom, after deducting my electricity bill, returns anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 every month,” he says.
He has also placed small solar panels on windows and balconies which generate small quantities of energy to light up the veranda and bed lamps. There are many lights that automatically come on after dusk with the help of sensors reducing wastage.
He has turned his office too green. Six months ago, he installed solar panels of 3kW capacity and has not used power supplied by Hescom since then, and pays only the meter charges every month. “There are three types of solar panels - monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film. I installed monocrystalline panels which are highly efficient even during rain and generate over 60 per cent power,” he adds.
Every day, he travels anywhere between 50 and 60 km to reach various work sites. His wife too uses an electric car to go to the office. Earlier, their monthly fuel expense was around Rs 18,000. Recently, they shifted to electric vehicles, saving money and also the environment.
Besides implementing green ideas in new constructions in Hubballi-Dharwad, he tries to influence the government to promote solar power and to give big subsidies for related equipment. He has pitched his idea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi too, through a letter. “Instead of giving free electricity to farmers and the poor, the government should provide them with solar power generating equipment which is a one-time investment and also runs without any power supply disruption,” he says.
“Everyone should make use of solar energy as it is abundantly available and makes us self-reliant. You will get back the investment on solar energy systems in 4-5 years. As they run for another 10-15 years, you will save a lot of money in power bills. The government should come up with new policies to promote solar energy,” he concludes.