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IT parks, schools, hospitals opt out of grid, embrace green energy for power

According to reports, from Infosys, SAP Labs to St Joseph’s College and Sri Sathya Sai Medical Hospital, big energy consumers are switching to renewable energy sources, primarily solar. There are many plus points of embracing green energy -reduces dependency on grid by 50%, saves revenue on fat electricity bills and cuts carbon footprint of a consumer.

Solar uptake in Karnataka has helped the state achieve its target of 3% of solar consumption (1,600 MW) within three years of the launch of the Solar Policy in May 2014. It had forecast of achieving 2% by 2016-17. It mandates gridconnected solar power generating systems, which means every solar consumer will be grid-connected and if the consumer produces excess solar power it can be supplied to the grid. It is net metered for the consumer.

The trend goes forward to prove that reliance on reliance on grid power is reduc ing be cause of poor qual ity of pow er supm. And that plied by Bescom. And that too is going to get costly as the electricity supply company has proposed a tariff hike of Rs1.40 per unit last December. Ahead of Karnataka’s Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (KERC) public hearing on tariff hike proposal by the state’s five Escoms, TOI looks at what alternatives the technology enclaves are reaching out to.

INFOSYS

One of India’s largest technology services firms has already set up a 1055 kW of solar photo-voltaic systems at its Bengaluru campus till 2016. It has installed 2,500 smart meters in Bengaluru campuses alone that are now interlinked through a Central Energy Management System (CEMS). This sends alerts through SMS for lighting and computer power consumption during unoccupied hours so that wastage can be reduced.It also has utility-wise energy performance benchmarking of all buildings based on accurate data.

Infosys buildings in Bengaluru and Pune have been awarded LEED India Platinum rating for being the most energy efficient green buildings. “In the new buildings, we have been able to achieve very high efficiency designs.Infosys buildings have 60% to 70% lower energy consumption compared to usual buildings.These have an Energy Performance Index (EPI) of about 85 kW hour per sq metre annually, among the most efficient in the world for office buildings. Design changes have been made such that capital cost on our buildings have remained the same and still the energy bills have reduced by 60-70%,” says Guruprakash Sastry, regional manager, infrastructure, Infosys.

SAP LABS

SAP Labs, too, has switched to LED lighting, along with motion and daylight sensors, across workstations and closed rooms. “Since 2015 we have made significant progress towards our goals aiming reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, taking advantage of digitalization and green technology trends that are now driving transformational changes across the global economy. Each year, we spend on engineering changes like infrastructure, improving air quality, energy optimization and water and electricity conservation. We availed 30.6 lakh units of renewable energy in 2016 that has resulted in reduction of 2,509.2 tonnes of carbon emission,” says Vikas Chawla, India head of global real estate and facilities at SAP.

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL | YELAHANKA

On their 20th year last March, Canadian International School decided to go solar. Now, it not only uses solar energy for all its needs but is also able to power 150 homes nearby. The north Bengaluru school needs 4,25,000 kW energy in a year. “Our solar panels produce 5 lakh kW annually. So, we are producing more energy than we need. The excess energy is exported to the grid and distributed to the homes and villages nearby. We are carbon neutral on most days and carbon positive on holidays, which means we are carbon positive annually,” says Shweta Sastri, executive director and board member of the school.

WIPRO

 

Having two huge campuses in Bengaluru and many smaller units across the city, the IT giant has moved to availability-based tariff (ABT) meters. These meters measure accurately and only the extent of power drawn from various sources through the grid. The company told TOI, “With ABT meters, we are able to manage the mix of power sources effectively. During 201516, our campuses consumed around 75 million units of renewable energy across India, contributing to about 23% of our total energy consumption. Then there are economic benefits that vary based on the source of the green power. We saved 80,000 tonnes of carbon equivalent in 2015-16 through various energy conservation initiatives and inclusion of renewable energy in our mix of sourcing power.”

 

SRI SATHYA SAI INSTITUTE OF HIGHER MEDICAL SCIENCES

 

The 333-bed multi-specialty hospital and medical college in Whitefield is yet another example of a large institution going green. Spread over 53 acres, the hospital consumes 3 lakh units of electricity and pays bills worth Rs 20 lakh per month. In its 17th year in Bengaluru, it switched to solar power by installing a 100kVA solar plant on in campus. “It cost us Rs 75 lakh but the energy produced meets almost 5% of our consumption. We will expand the capacity in phases to meet our entire power need in the NCES | WHITEFIELD near future. Ours will be the first hospital in the country to run entirely on solar energy,” says hospital’s senior personnel officer P Mohan Das.

 

It needs enhancement of capacity by 2,600 kVA and the cost is estimated to be recovered in nine years.

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