According to reports, a proposal to make all higher education institutions in Tamil Nadu become solar energised by 2017 has been submitted to the Government of Tamil Nadu.
P. Kandaswamy, Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and Member, Programme Advisory Committee, Department of Science and Technology, has submitted a proposal on “Green Energy for Higher Education Institutes in Tamil Nadu”, the implementation of which suggests that from 2017 all higher education institutions will shed their dependence on conventional energy.
Among the renewable energy sources, solar energy tops the list due to its abundant presence and even distribution in nature when compared to other energy types such as wind, geothermal, wave and tidal energies. Tamil Nadu has very good solar energy potential with 300 clear sunny days in a year. Hence, higher education institutions can gradually switch over to this energy over the next five years, says Mr. Kandaswamy.
According to his proposal, the first solar power plant with a capacity of 1 MV can be installed in Bharathiar University in 2012. Solar panels can be installed on 25 acres of land.
Each year, the capacity can be increased by 2 MV by extending the plant in the available land.
Plants with 1 MV capacity can be installed in the similar manner in Madurai Kamaraj University, Alagappa University, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University and Tamil University, which have enough land.
Others, viz., Periyar University, Thiruvalluvar University, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, and Anna University and its Regional Centres do not have enough space, hence it is suggested that the panels be installed on rooftops.
The University of Madras neither has land or facility for rooftop installation. Other universities are small units and hence rooftop installations of 0.5 MV capacity have been suggested. All these can be done in 2013.
Plants with 0.25 MV capacity can be installed in Government colleges in 2014. The same capacity plants can be installed in all aided colleges in 2015. Self-financing colleges will be included in 2016.
From 2017, the Government should make it compulsory for all self-financing colleges to start producing solar energy from the time of application of approval from the respective universities.
The cost on sharing basis is estimated to be Rs. 18 crore for installation of a 1 MV plant. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Sources of the Government of India provides 30 per cent of the cost of installation. The 70 per cent can be shared by the State Government and the institution. The cost may come down if the Government offers additional subsidy.