As a green initiative under the smart city mission, the Chennai civic body installed a network of solar panels, inverters, and bi-directional net meters across the wards to generate clean energy. The Chennai Municipal Corporation is likely to save Rs. 22 lakh per month on power bills once the solar panels are installed on all 662 buildings.
Till now, the solar panels are installed on 460 buildings and six of them have started producing electricity. This project got sanctioned in August 2018.
One of the officials said that the Panels and inverters are being installed in a fast pace as once all the 662 buildings are installed with solar panels, then the monthly power bill will witness a huge cut of Rs. 22 lakh per month. Presently, the electricity department of the Municipal Corporation incurs the highest power bills on street lights and buildings.
The project to install solar rooftops at corporation buildings gained momentum after being lost from a long time.
The Communicable Diseases Hospital in Tondiarpet will get solar panels that will have the maximum capacity to produce 100kW which is largest among all corporation buildings. The solar panels installed atop the new corporation zonal office building in Manali, Ambattur and Amma Maaligai, Ripon Buildings have a capacity of 78kW, 60kW, and 53kW.
The maximum capacity of power generation from 9,192 solar panels that are planned to be installed across 662 buildings is 3.064MW. However, the energy production of solar panels varies according to the number of hours sunlight is available and the intensity of rays.
The solar panels make use of solar energy to produce direct current (DC), inverters are used to convert DC into alternating current (AC). The Bi-directional net meters are obtained from the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) for installation along the buildings to redirect the generated power to the grid.
An official said that 3.6 lakh unit is the average generation of these panels and also said that the civic body wrote to Tangedco for generating the net meters in the remaining buildings. A cost of Rs. 24 crore is incurred to implement the project that also includes a five-year maintenance period.
In 2012, the state aimed to generate 3,000 MV solar power by 2015 by using the Solar Energy Policy. However, the target was not achieved.