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Find out how Holy Family High School in Andheri reduced its electricity bill

Holy Family High School in Andheri (E) becomes the first school in Maharashtra to use grid-synchronised solar panels

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There is a myth, which will hopefully be broken one day. It says that solar power is expensive. Well, if you and I want solar panels installed at home, the costs could scale up to lakhs of rupees. So yes, it is expensive, but in the long run, power bills can go down from Rs. 25,000 per month to Rs. 300 per month. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well, Holy Family High School in Andheri (E) is proof enough that the strange is actually true.

A long-term investment

The school had installed solar panels two months ago. While speaking to the media about the installation, Principal Brother Thomas Vaz said, “In this environmental crisis, the best way to teach our future generations is to show them that not only individuals but institutes too are responsible towards our the environment,” he said.
The initiative, which was carried out with the help of Holy Family Parent Teachers Association, Kevin Rego an ex-student, and BS Babu, Chairmen of BSB SOLAR Power, has seen the school installing a series of panels taking care of electricity needs in the school. Aneesh Raj, who is project in-charge of BSB Solar, a provider of grid-connected systems said that these solar panels operate on a battery-less system and require almost no maintenance.

The panels cost the school Rs. 35 lakh to set up, but this cost also included changing the wiring apparatus in the school building. “The building is old and these changes needed to be made. However, individual grid solar panels that can power factories cost approximately Rs. 15 lakh,” explained Rego.
Yogesh Pawar, the technical head, explains “The battery system has a few problems. First, we have to check the battery every quarter to see whether it’s working fine. Second, it occupies a lot of space. Third, the battery dies in three years and finally, the batteries can power only fans and lights. Nothing else works through these solar panels,” he explains.

The brighter side

On a positive note, the solar-powered system at Holy Family School is a grid-synchronised one. This means that if the school does not use a certain amount of power per day, those units are sent back to Tata Power and this is reflected in the final bill. Citing an example, Rego says, “If the school consumes 500 units per day but does not consume power on Sundays, those 500 units are sent back to the power station and the units are deducted from the monthly bill.”

While speaking to dna, Susan Babu, Vice-Principal of Holy Family High School, said that the idea behind installing the panels was to provide a sustainable form of energy to the school. “While the costs are high, the long-term solutions are beneficial. Furthermore, the electricity that isn’t used by the school goes back to the power station, which can be used to supply power to the neighbouring areas,” she said. 

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