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Tezpur University first institute in NE to install rooftop solar power plant

 TEZPUR, Aug 22 - At a time when the world is fighting climate change and exploring alternative ways to generate energy, Tezpur University is prioritising the use of renewable energy for generating electricity for its buildings and classrooms as part of its sustainable campus initiative.

 In its mission towards a sustainable campus, the university is focusing on five areas – energy, water, waste, natural ecosystems and sustainable building.

To develop sustainable buildings (green buildings), the university has installed 1000 kWp rooftop grid connected solar power plant under the Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) scheme for government buildings under RESCO (Renewable Energy Service Company) mode and has effectively replaced 24 per cent of the monthly electricity consumption of the university during the October 2018-July 2020 period.

“The university purchases electricity from Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) at the rate of Rs 6.60/kWh, whereas the solar power plant generated electricity cost is Rs 2.42/kWh. It means the solar rooftop scheme is cheaper than buying electricity from commercial rates,” said Dr Sadhan Mahapatra, associate professor in the Department of Energy who was the coordinator during the installation of the rooftop grid.

Currently, the power plant is installed in 15 building roof spaces at the university. The total electricity fed into the university grid during October 2018-July 2020 was 19,68,345 kWh. The monthly average electricity generation from the plant is 89,470 kWh. The maximum generation in one day is 5,938 kWh and the average daily generation during this period is 2,949 kWh. The maximum generation was 1,12,149 kWh in August 2019. The university also reduces 1,614 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission due to solar power generation during this period.

“The rooftop solar power projects have several advantages like savings in transmission and distribution losses, low gestation time, reduction in electricity bill and battery eliminations reduced the system capital cost, etc.,” Mahapatra added.

University Registrar Dr Biren Das stated, “Tezpur University is the first academic institution to initiate the installation of MW scale rooftop grid connected solar PV power plant in the entire North East. The university entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the developer – Arunachal Pradesh Power Corporation Pvt Ltd, New Delhi – for a 25-year period at a flat tariff of Rs 2.42/kWh during 2018 for installation of the power plant.”

“Currently, out of 15 buildings, where the solar power plant is installed, the net electricity consumption of 11 buildings is nil or these buildings can be named as electricity neutral buildings,” Das added.

It may be mentioned here that under the Paris Agreement, India has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 33-35 per cent below 2005 levels and achieve 40 per cent of its electricity generation from non-fossil sources by 2030.

“The university is glad to be part of the nation’s commitment at Paris Agreement and National Solar Mission (under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy), which has taken policy initiatives under the National Action Plan for Climate Change of the Government of India to promote solar power. We are committed towards the nation’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emission by using renewable sources of energy,” Mahapatra said.

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