As an alumni of BKPS College of Architecture, Pune I was proud to read a facebook post by Pushkar Kanvinde, Professor and Principal at BKPS, “Today we commissioned a solar electricity generation array on the roof of BKPS College of Architecture. It will generate enough electricity required for our college plus little additional. It is provided with ‘net metering’ and we will get credit for excess electricity generated that is supplied to the grid”
This set me thinking, imagine if all these colleges set up eco-friendly infrastructure like this one, what a fantastic education for the future generations. Here I do an interview with Prof. Kanvinde, who during our student days was well known for his brevity, which is quite evident in his precise to the point responses.
PS: From where and how did you get the idea of installing Solar Energy Generation array on the college roof?
PK: From the Central Government, it recommended the use of Solar energy. One of our employees, Sanjay Singh saw an advertisement on television and after making some inquiries approached me with the idea. I asked him to explore more and locate an agency who could supply and install the system.
PS: How much did it cost and how did you fund the initiative?
PK: It cost us approximately 6 Lakhs for and installation with 8 KVA average load. We spent the amount from the College Development Fund that had accumulated over the years.
PS: How much electricity does it generate, including seasonal variation if any?
PK: In clear weather conditions it generates more than 10 KVA. Over the year with seasonal variations in light conditions it should generate an average of 8 KVA.
PS: How does this work, connection to the buildings electric supply, net metering and supply to the grid?
PK: We had to ask Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) to change the electric meter, it is now a net meter. From what we generate we consume what we need and the excess electricity is fed into the MSEB grid. We get credit for what gets fed into the grid and whatever we consume is free for us.
PS: Who provided the technical know-how?
PK: Technical persons, Sachin Kanawade and Ashok Jadhav from M/s. Vaishnavi Enterprises provided the Technical Support.
PS: How much time did setting it up take?
PK: If all documents are clear it takes 50 days for installation and commencing the net metering.
PS: What is the maintenance involved?
PK: Zero maintenance is required. We only need to clean or occasionally wash and clean the panels to remove dust settled that may otherwise reduce the light reaching the panels.
PS: At what scale does this become economical/ attractive to implement?
PK: As per my understanding for any load more than 3 KVA it is economical in the long run. Further, in addition to the economics, you are in a way serving the nation by reducing the carbon footprint and also the pollution associated with thermal power generation and you help save on resources.
PS: As of March 25, 2015 India had 387 registered architecture colleges, how do you see this initiative in the larger context?
PK: It is just a beginning, many other institutes are going for such an initiative and if all institutes, architecture or otherwise, the numbers may be in few hundred thousand go for solar electricity generation, that will help the nation a lot with improvement in the environment.