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Driven by solar power, Greater Cochin Development Authority to save Rs 8 lakh per annum

According to reports, solar may have come to mean corruption in the state. But the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) is certainly not blinking, preferring to instead save money and give a boost to the much-maligned source of alternative energy.

The authority is all set to commission the 60 kVA solar power station at its head office in Kadavanthra next month. Once the power station becomes operational, it hopes to save about Rs 8 lakh per annum in electricity bills.

At present, GCDA is footing a monthly electricity bill of about Rs 1.4 lakh. “The installation of solar panels will almost halve the electricity charge and the authority will be able to save at least Rs 60,000 per month,” said GCDA chairman N Venugopal. In the first phase of the project, the solar station will power third and fourth floors of the office building.

The panels installed at the head office are expected to generate 40 units of power a day. The development authority requires about 3,000 to 4,000 units of power a month. “This will enable us to meet almost half our energy requirement,” he added. Moreover, when there is a power disruption, the solar station will reduce the dependency on generator and minimize the use of diesel. The power generated from the solar panels will be saved in 32 batteries.

According to GCDA, the authority has spent Rs 49 lakh for setting up solar panels, batteries and transformer required for storing the energy generated. The total project cost is about 70 lakh, and the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has provided 30% of the project cost.

The panels have been installed by the Pune-based company, Photonix India Ltd, and United Electricals Ltd, a state government enterprise. Speaking on firms entrusted with the job, Venugopal said that Photonix was registered with the MNRE Photonix India Ltd and has a valid licence for installing panels. The cells of the panels have been imported from Germany.

“Two weeks ago, engineers from MNRE had inspected the site and given necessary sanctions. After commissioning the power station, another expert from MNRE will come down and inspect the system,” he added. Following the approval of experts, MNRE will release 30% of the project cost to the company. For the project, GCDA began the tendering process in March 2013 and an order was placed in May. Earlier this year, the authority installed solar panels on an experimental basis in its garden at a cost of Rs 80,000. In the next phase, GCDA is planning to power the first and second floors using solar panels. Except elevators, all other systems in the office will use solar power.

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