According to reports, taking a leap towards conservation of energy, the BEST has decided to experiment with the use of solar power to provide electricity to its 25 bus depots across the city.
BEST incurs a huge power bill, which runs into lakhs of rupees annually, at the bus depots-especially in the western and eastern suburbs. “Electricity is needed to light up the depot almost round the clock, to run various equipment to maintain and clean buses and at the various offices within the depots,” a senior official said. The administration has now decided to install solar energy panels at three depots in the suburbs on an experimental basis. “We will gradually shift to solar energy at all the depots,” the official stated.
Besides conserving energy, the move will help BEST to cut down costs. BEST committee member Ravi Raja said, “In the suburbs, we purchase power from RInfra at a very high cost. If we switch to solar power, the initial investment could be costly, but we will save a lot of money in the long run.” In fact, it was Raja who at a recent committee meeting suggested that BEST should install solar panels at the depots.
BEST general manager Om Prakash Gupta said, “We are keen on experimenting with solar power.
We will invite bids from parties willing to provide the service to us. As a pilot project, we will start with three depots.” He, however, did not disclose the names of any depot. Sources said BEST would begin with depots in the suburbs and gradually include other prominent depots like Colaba and Backbay in south Mumbai in the second phase.
BEST panel chairperson Ashok Patil has suggested the administration can also introduce LED lights as it would save 60% power. However, Gupta said that LED lights were already tried at some depots and they were not “cost-effective”.
The BEST has a fleet of 4,680 buses, most of which are parked at the 25 depots across the city.