On the day when everyone was speculating if the end of the world would come, Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School went solar.
It joined the handful of schools in the city, and its immediate vicinity, which are employing this renewable resource.
On a hot December afternoon, the solar panels installed on the terraces of two buildings in the campus are generating solar energy to power fans, tube lights, and computers in close to 30 classrooms in the school.
R. V. Rajagopal, correspondent of the school, said they had used 27 units in close to two days. “There are 10 panels in the main building and 24 panels in the high and higher secondary building,” he said.
According to school authorities, it was gifted by the 1987 batch of students to celebrate 25 years of passing out, and installed by U-Solar, a company started by K.R. Harinarayan, who belongs to the batch. Mr. Rajapgopal, said that for now, they would expand the capacity in a phased manner, as utilising solar energy for all energy needs of the school in one go was not possible. Depending on the provisions in Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy, Mr. Rajagopal said they would explore the possibility of channelling the excess power generated to the local grid.
K.R. Harinarayan, founder-CEO, U- Solar, said that it was an ideal set up for schools, as they functioned when the sun is out. “It is an eight-kilowatt battery-based system, and can power up to 30 classrooms. It can supply regular power, and can also be used as a back up option,” he said, adding, “This system is ideal for schools also because the school should be able to channel the excess power generated, during weekends and holidays, to the local grid in the future.”
B. Ravi, trustee, Navadisha Montessori School, where they have been employing wind-cum-solar energy for close to a year, strongly recommends tapping renewable sources of energy. “Once you install it, there is zero maintenance, and you also set a good example for your children,” he said, adding that if more institutions and homes came forward, the cost of the equipment would also come down.
Senthil Nathan, general manager, operations, E Hands Energy Private Limited, said that the trend of schools using wind and solar energy was more pronounced in other districts in Tamil Nadu due to the grim power situation. “Many city colleges are looking at solar and wind power,” he said.