Electricity costs consume a substantial chunk of the complete operational expenditure of organisations. Solar system installations can play a big role in reducing this financial drain. Considering that solar setup costs are gradually coming down, is this a good time to start investing in solar? To highlight true advantages of solar systems for academic institutions and corporates alike, we showcase here case studies of IIT Roorkee and Delhi International Airport.
Case 1: IIT Roorkee
The most important benefit of a solar installation for institutions is that it reduces their grid energy consumption. IIT Roorkee is a good example, which has substantially cut its electricity expenses, LPG usage and carbon emission by investing in a solar setup.
The setup. IIT Roorkee used solar arrangements for two broad areas: departmental buildings, and hostels and residential areas. Solar PV systems across the roofs of its departmental buildings ensure minimum possible consumption of grid electricity. Hostels and residential areas use solar setups for cooking and water heating.
Major components of the complete arrangement are:
- 27 units of a total 1.81MW polycrystalline solar photovoltaic system on departmental building roofs
- A total of 435,000 litres per day (lpd) capacity of solar water heating (340,000lpd thermosiphon system and 90,000lpd flat-plate-bed system)
- Solar steam cooking for nine hostel buildings using Scheffler concentrators
- SCADA system for monitoring the total power generation and distribution
The results. By September 2016, the solar PV system generated net 5517.2 MWp energy. This is enough to run the 27 departments of IIT-Roorkee covering a 33,278 sq.m area, eliminating the need for grid electricity. Recent analytics indicate that the net energy generation crossed 7000MWp by July 2017. The net reduction in carbon dioxide emission of the campus was 7208 tonnes till July 2017.
The 440,000 lpd solar water heating system covers 12 hostels, two guest houses and 14 residential areas. The heaters are connected with grid-connected geysers for heating during poor sunlight conditions. Assuming a complete 150 days-a-year usage of the solar water system, a 100lpd system can save 4kWh energy every day. IIT Roorkee saves 2.6 million units electricity per year with a net carbon dioxide reduction of 2132 tonnes.
The solar cooking setup comprises 61 dish-type parabolic concentrator plates installed across nine student messes, covering an area of 976sq.m. The setup cuts down the conventional 14.2kg LPG cylinders usage by 5000 units.
The final benefit. The complete setup has enabled the institute to slash its electricity bill by an average of over 15 per cent and carbon footprint by almost 234 tonnes per year.
Case 2: Delhi International Airport
The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has also made a significant transition towards solar setup for electricity savings and an overall carbon-clean environment. In an effort to effectively utilise the large proportion of its land at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, which would otherwise go unutilised commercially, it decided to dedicate a part of the space to solar arrangements.
ROI and expansion plans. DIAL installed 2.14MW solar setup in 2014 across its 72,843sq.m (18-acre) land including solar PV installations near the runway area, which required special permissions. Precautions for glare and radiation effects on flyers were examined and adopted in the setup. According to news sources, the total investment in the project till now has been Rs.470 million, while electricity expenses of DIAL are around Rs.2300 million per annum.
Considering the level cost of electricity (LCOE) over grid as Rs.9.25 and that of solar power as Rs.6.89, DIAL is saving Rs.2.36 per unit using the solar setup. As a result, it is saving up to 20 per cent of the electricity expenses. Looking at the trend of up to 7 per cent annual increase in the electricity price, the arrangement will yield ROI in around six years.
The project is expanding with installation of another 5.7MW solar system setup. The solar set up expansion is expected to save Rs.120 million annually in electricity cost, which will be an additional 5 per cent saving over the current power expenses.
To sum up
Not just industrial players but academic institutions too can gain significantly from solar setup investment. Those who go green get guaranteed returns in the form of cost savings while also contributing to a sustainable future for the coming generations.