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Grid-connected rooftop solar PV pilot projects commissioned at Auroville, Tamil Nadu

Commisisoning of grid-connected Solar PV  Auroville, Tamil Nadu

Commisisoning of grid-connected Solar PV Auroville, Tamil Nadu

Two grid connected rooftop solar PV installations of 2 kW (on the roof of Ilaignarkal Education Centre, Auroville) and of 1.7 kW (on the roof of a residential building) were commissioned today in Auroville (Villupuram District). Both installations form part of a pilot program in which the performance of a total of four grid-connected rooftop solar PV installations will be studied. In addition to a total of three pilots in Auroville there is a pilot installation of 4kW on the roof of the TEDA office in Chennai.

The pilot projects are a collaborative effort of State Planning Commission, TEDA, TANGEDCO and Auroville to demonstrate the technical viability of grid-interactive rooftop solar systems. The grid-connected rooftop solar has no land requirement, can be connected to the existing electrical infrastructure of the building – no requirement of new dedicated evacuation  lines, avoids distribution losses as most of the energy generated by the solar panels on the roof will be consumed within the building, among other advantages.

Net Metering Room at Auroville Solar Plant

Auroville in Villupuram District has been active in the field of sustainable development in general and renewable energy in particular since more than 30 years and is therefore an ideal place to carry out these pilot studies. The funding for the pilot projects in Auroville has been provided by Auroville.

TANGEDCO provides grid access through the existing low tension service connections of the buildings where the rooftop solar systems are located. An additional meter has been provided by TANGEDCO to record the energy that is exported to the grid for study purposes. At a later stage during the pilot study the separate import and export meters will be replaced with a single bidirectional energy meter that can measure both the import and export of energy. The sizes of the two solar systems have been selected such that most of the energy will be absorbed in the two buildings. The primary purpose of the pilot installations is to demonstrate the technical viability of grid connected rooftop solar PV.

 The two systems were commissioned in the presence of Mr. N. Bala Baskar IAS (retd.), Secretary, Auroville Foundation, Mr. Sudeep Jain IAS, Chairman and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) , Mr Toine van Megen, Co-Founder, Auroville Consulting, Mr. R. Srinivasan, Executive Engineer (O&M), TANGEDCO, other senior officers of TANGEDCO, Mr. Vineeth Vijayaraghavan, Panchabuta, participants of the just concluded Auroville Green Practices seminar, staff and students of Auroville’s  Ilaignarkal Education Centre, residents of Auroville and many others who were keen to witness this unique event.

Commenting on the event, Mr. Toine van Megen, Co-Founder of Auroville Consulting said: “We are very happy to do these pilot projects in Auroville in collaboration with the State Planning Commission, TEDA and TANGEDCO. We feel confident that these pilots will contribute to large scale implementation of grid-interactive rooftop solar PV in Tamil Nadu. With grid-interactive rooftop solar, the consumer can become a producer who contributes to a sustainable energy future.”

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