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Within just three days, the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) closed applications meant for the installation of solar projects. The varsity had called for applications from its affiliated colleges on Wednesday, which were earlier supposed to be open till September 25, in order to install rooftop solar panels on their premises. But, they have now been stopped as it received more than 700 applications, out of which 200 have been approved.
The university has become the first in the country to provide funds to its affiliated colleges to install rooftop solar photovoltaic systems on their premises.
Sandesh Jadkar, professor at the School of Energy Studies, SPPU, said, “There is a limitation of funding that can come from university, too. While we have shortlisted 200 colleges, the provision of Rs 5 lakh to each means a lot of money. The remaining applications will be considered next year. Currently, we have stopped accepting more applications.”
The shortlisted colleges will also have to invest Rs 1.5 lakh each for the installation of the system. Jadkar continued, “The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has sanctioned a benchmark of Rs 61,000 for producing one kilowatt of energy and the university will support till 10-12 kilowatts. We will provide funds and the School of Energy Studies will offer technical support. If the colleges want beyond 10 kilowatts, then they have to spend for it, but the varsity will still provide funds for the detailed project report for the entire project.”
In the first phase, 111 colleges are being added for the project this year that will receive funding. The vendor from which the college will decide to get solar panels has to come to an agreement where they will maintain the panels for five years. “After the installation, the university, especially in engineering colleges, will train faculty and students to take care of the facility. For students too, taking care of the college solar panels will be like a practice. The solar panels provide clean energy and also reduce carbon footprint, so it is a win-win for all,” added Jadkar.
The colleges can decide whether they want to connect to the grid or to keep this energy as a battery backup. The resource is best used for colleges in rural areas where there is no electricity for long hours and also there is a major issue of load shedding. With solar panels installed all over, the colleges can run their laboratories and media labs.
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