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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

IIT Kharagpur aims to 'go green' with solar power

West Bengal's premiere technology institute IIT Kharagpur is all set for a "green" makeover. The institute has embarked on an ambitious plan to reduce its monthly electricity bill by 10 - 15 per cent with the use of using renewable energy like solar power. Work is already underway to set up a 1 Mega Watt solar plant in the campus. Solar panels are being installed on the rooftops across nine prominent buildings. The move comes
after the Ministry of Human Resource & Development (MHRD) urged all government run academic institutions to use solar power to conserve energy. "The installation of this plant will help reduce our monthly energy bill by almost 10 -15 per cent. It will reduce the cost and the power we save can be supplied to places where there is a shortage," explains Prabodh Bajpai, Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering & School of Energy Sciences. Experts say, this will reduce the weight on the state power grid and also ensure self reliability of the academic institution in the long run. But solar energy plants are not a new feature at the Kharagpur campus, with a 100 KW plant already functional in one of the buildings that was commissioned in November 2014. After the plants successful operation for two years, the campus is all set for the launch of yet another solar project coming up with a government provided subsidy of 30 per cent. The institute hopes to commission the 100 KW plant in the next two months. While the institute has always aimed at being an energy efficient campus, the installing of the solar panels will pave the way to make their own energy system a lot more reliable. Apart from the ambitious MHRD project, IIT Kharagpur also has a few stand alone solar plants of 5KW each that have been installed at the roof top of the swimming pool arena. In a move to enhance utilization of solar energy for sustainable use, the energy conservation department of the institute has also initiated a research in this subject to analyze the performance of the solar plants. But even though the cost of solar plants have come down in the past few years, experts believe an effective use of the natural energy for long term use needs some more brain storming."We are using the research to improvise upon the technology so that we can work out ways improve the efficiency of the solar plants, because that is still less." concludes Bajpai.

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