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The sun blazes across Tamil Nadu colleges

According to reports, Tamil Nadu’s tender for allocating 1,000 MW of large solar power projects may have met with a less-than-satisfactory response but action is happening elsewhere in the state.

Whether or not thanks to the obligation imposed on them by the State Government (which is yet to come into force), several classes of electricity consumers including educational institutions, schools and colleges in the state are taking to solar power in a big way.

For instance in Chennai, five schools and two colleges that come under the management of Sri Swethambar Sthanakvasi Jain Educational Society are all going in for rooftop solar projects. One of the colleges is A.M. Jain College – it wants to put up a 1 MW system.

“We have a 4-acre roof,” notes Abhaya Kumar, Honorary Secretary General of the Society. (Incidentally, Abhaya Kumar is Chairman and Managing Director of Shasun Pharmaceuticals, which is also working on a 5 MW ground-mounted project in the state.)

The B.S. Abdur Rahman University expects to have a 100 kW system on its roof by June, but that is only Phase I. Shuja Ahmed, who looks after solar projects, says that if it became certain that the university could export its surplus power to the grid, it would put up another 200 kW.

All educational institutions that Business Line spoke to said they were serious about solar power.

MGR University, for instance, which has three institutions under it, has now called for quotes.

The solar wave is not just in Chennai, but across the State.

“The interest is widespread, all over the State,” says P.V.R. Krishna Rao of Earthcare, a consultancy firm that is advising many educational institutions in the state, including Sreevee Business School of Dindigul.

According to World Colleges Information, there are over 3,000 colleges and, according to ‘Kalvi Tagaval’ there are 53,722 schools in the state.

While these numbers may not be accurate, it gives some indication of the enormous scope there is for rooftop solar projects.

Unlike large-scale plants, these institutions may go in for small systems of 100-200 kW, but so what? A kilowatt here, a kilowatt there – and solar power everywhere.

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