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Solar power to ward off energy tariff fluctuations in West Bengal

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Solar energy is the most equipped and organized available source of energy. It does not belong to any single individual but for every living creature. It is also one of the most important non-conventional sources of energy because of its non-polluting element, which also helps in reducing the greenhouse effect. Hence, it is the best form of energy, which can be used when the power tariff is touching the roof.

A government housing complex towering over Dhakuria Lake, Kolkata, is showing the way to have immunity against power tariff fluctuations, as a resident named Avijit Ghosh has decided to fix the problem of high and inconsistent power bills himself.

Ghosh is an energy technologist with Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (CGCRI), who conceived the plan and installed the solar power plant fighting against many odds on the rooftop of a housing apartment meant for the scientists of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

After a year of observation, he was so jubilant with his successful experiment that now he wants to emulate and install it on every rooftop of the city.

Professor Indranil Manna, director IIT-Kanpur, who as the director of CGCRI encouraged Ghosh out of his way, said, “The tariff of power generated from the fossil fuel like coal and petroleum products is bound to go up with the steady depletion of the reserve, which might last another five decades. So, rooftop solar power plant is no more a fancy of a few eccentrics.”  The current director of CGCRI, Kamal Dasgupta, is equally glad by the outcome of the plant.

The authorities are constantly aiming to create the amount of power required by the city. The total estimated power produced by the plant in Kolkata was considered to be around 45,000 KWh in a year, but actual total generation was 52,269 KWh in past one year.  Almost 50,000 units from the total solar power generation were utilized in-campus and additional 2,165 units were sold to the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) at the prevailing rate of the month. The sale and purchase of the power is accorded within the parameters of power purchase agreement, entered into between CSIR-CGCRI & CESC for 25 years.

Development is essential, but the thing that really matters the most is the positive environmental impact that is related to the performance of the plant. Kolkata plant’s contribution to greenhouse gas emission reduction — CO2 emission avoided at Thermal Power Plant’s Generation — is around 86 M.T., which is really impressive.

The water saved at Thermal Power Plant is around 575 Kilolitres. “This is a huge environmental benefit that a solar power plant can engineer,” said Susapta Ghosh, superintendent engineer and Sujoy Roy, an electrical engineer, who also toiled a lot for plant’s fantastic performance.

The main concern over solar power is the initial investment of installing the panels. Yet the cost savings on electrical bills and the positive effect on the environment make it an increasingly attractive alternative for homes and businesses alike.

Next Story

Vietnamese Advocates of Solar Power Begin “Million Green Homes” Project

The project is being undertaken by the new Vietnam Coalition for Climate Action, formed in August by a group of leaders from business, academia

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Vietnamese, Advocates, Solar Power
FILE - A solar panel installation is seen near a wind turbine at the Phu Lac wind farm in southern Vietnam's Binh Thuan province, April 23, 2019. VOA

Vietnamese advocates of solar power have begun a “Million Green Homes” project, aimed at spreading the use of solar power in the country instead of coal and other fossil fuels.

The project is being undertaken by the new Vietnam Coalition for Climate Action, formed in August by a group of leaders from business, academia and public organizations, and is designed to use a combination of public outreach and financial initiatives to get solar power on an additional million buildings.

Despite the “homes” in the project name, it is aimed at any small electricity consumers, especially those that can’t afford the cost of converting to solar power on their own, such as farms, small businesses, offices, and public buildings, such as hospitals and schools.

The project will focus on two types of solar power — panels connected to the national power grid that can supply electricity broadly and panels that generate electricity solely for the buildings to which they are attached.

Vietnamese, Advocates, Solar Power
FILE – A business in Ho Chi Minh City promotes solar panels. VOA

Advocates are also encouraging Vietnamese to use more solar power for uses ranging from stoves to water heaters.

The project is being conducted by the Green Innovation and Development Centre, a Hanoi-based organization that promotes sustainable development in Vietnam and the Mekong region. The project is now examining how to spread awareness and make solar power affordable to under-served communities.

The center will start a pilot project next year for new solar power consumers all across Vietnam, including Hanoi in the north and several provinces, such as Thua Thien-Hue in central Vietnam, Dak Lak in the central highlands, and  An Giang and Hau Giang in the south. The project will identify households and other small consumers eligible for support and help them install solar panels.

Environmentalists are pushing ahead with the effort, even though renewable energy discussions here have largely focused on government policies and corporate issues, and foreign investors want to be paid more for their electricity before they invest in solar power.

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“Climate change poses a real threat to the natural environment that supports all of humanity and the critical habitats that we work to protect,” said Van Ngoc Thinh, Vietnam country director of the World Wide Fund For Nature, one of the members of the coalition.

“I call on all committed leaders from across the private sector, universities, subnational governments, and civil society to join the VCCA to take climate action,” he added.

Coal plans

Another environmental organization in the climate alliance, the Ho Chi Minh City-based Center of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment, or CHANGE,  stressed in an email “the urgency of forming the alliance and the specific actions the alliance can contribute to promoting the use of rooftop solar [photovoltaic cells] and other energy-saving and green solutions.”

Vietnamese, Advocates, Solar Power
FILE – A solar water heater, left, and a solar panel are seen at Entech Hanoi, an international trade fair on energy efficiency and the environment, at the Giang Vo Exhibition Center in Hanoi, Vietnam. VOA

Much of that urgency comes from Vietnam’s increasing use of coal for energy, even while it considers itself one of the countries most at threat from climate change. The World Wide Fund For Nature in Vietnam said the Southeast Asian country plans to increase the number of coal-fired power plants from 20 now to 51 by 2030, which would cause carbon dioxide emissions to increase even more than expected.

Even amid government policies favoring more coal-fired plants, the government has expressed support for new types of energy sources.

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“Vietnam’s government always encourages the development and effective use of renewable energy sources,” Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said at an event this summer. (VOA)