Karnataka

They thank the sun, wind and technology for power

Waking up half an hour early to get gadgets charged, ironing done and completing all chores that would require electricity. When the rest of the city is trying its best to get accustomed to this new routine of designing their lives around scheduled power cuts announced by Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), there are some who are unaffected by the power crisis that has hit the State.

Those looking for power backup are spending thousands of rupees either on buying UPS systems or on diesel for their generators. But the other group, which spent money a few years ago on setting up alternative power generating systems, is now enjoying the benefits.

And who do they have to thank for it? The sun, wind and technology. People who showed faith in renewable sources of energy and took the plunge, investing a substantial sum on installing these systems, are not complaining today like the rest of the city.

“I don’t know when power comes and goes,” said P.G. Ganapathy, an independent consultant on urban infrastructure and a resident of Good Earth Orchard, Kengeri, matter-of-factly. A solar PV plant was installed at his home three years ago, soon after he shifted to the city. And since, the sun rays, with the help of technology, provide energy to everything one needs in the house — lights, television set, refrigerator included. Taking care of nearly 80 per cent of this home’s energy requirements, the 1.5 kWp plant (not connected to the Bescom grid) has also ensured a monthly electricity bill of not more than Rs. 400.

A plant with 1 kWp capacity can give power up to five hours.

The gated community too is not averse to adopting more sustainable energy practices. “Within a year, we will look to using solar PV systems to light up all common areas. Right now, we have only a diesel generator backup,” Mr. Ganapathy said.

New solar panels

While some electricity consumers, who have connected their solar plants to the Bescom gird, complain of not being able to use the energy generated by the plants every time there is a power cut (due to lack of battery storage), some others also complained of cloudy weather playing spoilsport.

But then, there are those who have gone a step ahead and embraced new technology to counter these problems. ‘Nano solar cells’ are being touted to be the answer to problems related to climatic changes.

Touted to cost almost the same as a regular solar PV system (Rs. 1.6 lakh with battery storage), manufacturers are advocating their use for cities such as Bengaluru, where the sun is not always shining its brightest.

“As the cells inside the panel are thinner, they will absorb sunlight from any angle. For Bengaluru, the triple junction panel is ideal (to absorb three different wavelengths of light),” explained S.S. Narayan, CEO of a nano solar cell company.

Hybrid system

Windmills do not just make for pretty pictures; they are also good sources of energy. They are a common sight on hilltops, but what about Bengaluru’s rooftops?

A sizeable number of people are adopting what is called a “hybrid solar wind system”. With the city not offering much scope for high velocity of wind, except perhaps in areas at a higher altitude, these systems are said to utilise the benefits of the sun during the day and the wind during nights. The only addition to the solar system would be a pole-structure to mount the wind turbine.

A.C. Sambashiva, a doctor who is building a hospital in Kaggadasapura, has pledged his support to it. “As it is a hospital, we will have all kinds of backup. But we will look to running the hospital without electricity, so we are installing a 25 kWp plant wherein 23 kWp could be from solar and the remaining from wind,” he said.

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UAS-B saves Rs. 50,000 a month on electricity

A biogas plant set up by the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru, helps save the varsity electricity bills worth Rs. 50,000 a month. Not just that, Rs. 2.4 lakh worth of biomanure is also a byproduct of the plant.

The 200m3-capacity plant generates about 300 to 320 units of electricity a day. The 20kV biogas generator runs for 16 hours a day. The plant requires four to five tonnes of cow dung, agricultural waste, and kitchen waste a day.

In all, the university has 130 kWp of energy from solar plant and the electricity generated from the biogas plant.

V. Kumargoud, project co-ordinator, Biogas Development and Training Centre, UAS-B, said many other institutes and organisations, including schools and dairy companies, had adopted the technology.

Those interested in adopting the technology can call Mr. Kumargoud on 9901069131.

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Two UPCL units start functioning

Bangalore Electricity Supply Company officials said two units of the Udupi Power Corporation Ltd.’s thermal plant with 1,200 MW capacity in all started functioning by Friday evening. Having started generating 880 MW, they were expected to reach their optimum level before Saturday morning. The power utility, however, is continuing with four-hour power cuts and has published a detailed schedule for all the areas on its website.

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Four hours of power cuts for these industries

V.K. Dikshit, president, Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association, met Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar and told him that nearly 20,000 micro small-scale units situated in residential areas of Bengaluru such as Sriramapuram, Prakashnagar, Abbigere, Kammagondanahalli, Machohalli, Kamakshipalya, Doddanna Estate and private layouts in and around Peenya Industrial Area are suffering with the four-hour power cuts. He asked the government to consider the industries situated in these areas under the industry category and impose only two-hour scheduled power cuts.

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Industry representatives meet CM

Tallam R. Dwarakanath, president, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, on Friday called on Chief Minister Siddaramiah, who, according to a release, said efforts had been made for additional power purchases. He is also said to have assured them that the situation would improve significantly within a week.

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E-commerce sites cash in

What better time to lure consumers with power backup products than now?

An e-commerce website is offering everything from UPS systems to power banks under the head: ‘Namma Bengaluru: beat power cuts’. Flipkart, meanwhile, has seen a 400 per cent increase in the sales of emergency lights in the last two weeks, with the share of sales of emergency lights reaching 50 per cent of the total sales across the country.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 7:55:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/they-thank-the-sun-wind-and-technology-for-power/article7642833.ece

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