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Madurai Corporation to promote solar energy in a big way

According to reports, the civic body that has installed 44 kW capacity solar panels atop the roof of Anna Maaligai, its office, at a cost of Rs 55 lakh in 2016, a first-of-its-kind in Tamil Nadu, is reaping the benefits now handsomely.

In the last 10 months, its power bill has come down steeply. Every month, the Corporation saved almost 50 % in power bill as each kW capacity of solar panel generated 3 to 4 units of electricity, said Commissioner Sandeep Nanduri.

Following the success, it has now planned to identify similar buildings for installation of solar panels.

Speaking to The Hindu, he said that the Corporation had around 350 buildings, big and small. “We have chosen 156 among them for installing solar panels. Proposals to establish solar panels with a capacity of 466 kW is ready,” he added.

Buildings with good space to install solar panels and collect sun rays without dilution have been identified for the purpose.

“With peak summer setting in the next 100 to 150 days, the demand for electricity is bound to go up. Thus, by generating our own electricity, power bills will decline and result in savings for the civic body. Above all, switching over to alternative power generation will encourage residents also to opt for green energy,” Corporation officials and senior engineers in charge of installing solar panels said.

“Maternity homes, schools, tax collection centres and overhead water tanks of the Corporation are some of the buildings to benefit from solar panel installations,” Assistant Executive Engineer Senthil said and noted that with many people coming into solar panel trade, installation and procurement of panels would be cheaper now than the 2016 levels.

 Maternity home staff in Sellur said that the proposal to install solar panel on the premises was welcome as the in-patients would have uninterrupted power when TANGEDCO shutdown electricity for maintenance work. Similar views were echoed by staff at the computerised tax collection centres, where solar panels will give steady supply without interruptions.

The Anna Maaligai, which used to get a bill of Rs. 1.47 lakh per month, has been getting power bills for around Rs. 75000 a month in the last 10 months. As for the maintenance of solar panels, the officials said the cost was negligible.

Presently, the Corporation consumes the power generated from its solar panels at Anna Maaligai, while it has planned to explore the possibility of inviting bidders to sell surplus electricity through power purchase agreement.

Among the 12 Corporations in the State, Madurai Corporation was the first to go the solar way, officials said. A commendable and noteworthy project indeed.

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