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First Mumbai Temple To Use Solar Power Is An Example For All To Follow

Electricity drainage is a relatively new problem that has come to the fore in past few years. If people waste electricity at current rate there will be a greater shortage in the coming years. However, people are realizing this and are going green in every field. Organic is turning more contemporary and the adaptation of going green is helping the ecology.

While many religious institutions have installed solar power plants to reduce their dependency on electricity produced by coal and gas, the Shree Ayyappa temple in Vartak Nagar, Thane in Maharashtra is the first shrine to tap solar power.

The temple is spread in 6,000 square meters and has installed 41 rooftop solar panels across 110 square meters last week.

The plant generates 19,700 kilowatts an hour (kWh) of electricity annually or 54kWh electricity daily. For comparison, a two-bedroom apartment in Mumbai needs 8kWh of power daily. With a capacity of 12.71 kilowatt power (kWp), the plant can supply all the electricity the temple needs in a year.

The temple’s light, fan, air conditioner and water pump all function on solar energy. The temple is expecting to save Rs 2.6 lakhs by year end.

“India is harnessing solar energy to not only meet its energy requirements, but also to tackle the problem of climate change. This is our contribution to the government’s solar initiatives, and will better our community and the environment,” said M Ravindran Nair, president, Shree Ayyappa Temple Trust.

Solar power is a non-polluting source of renewable energy. Plants using coal, gas or oil to produce electricity contribute to green house effect thus trapping heat on earth leading to melting of ice-bergs and glaciers. Solar energy  is preventing it on a tiny scale right now and it can be used in rural areas too where electricity can’t be reached by grid.

“Opting for green energy is opting for a sustainable tomorrow. Adopting solar energy not only has a positive effect on the environment but also results in great savings in the form of reduced electricity bills,” said Sushindran Menon, treasurer, Shree Ayyappa Temple Trust.

The trust has invested Rs 8.95 lakhs to install the plant. It is expecting to recover this amount within two and a half years.

“Though rooftop solar projects come with an initial investment that could be a bit high, you can expect huge savings in the long run. The advantage will reflect every month in the temple’s reduced electricity bills. The government’s subsidy plan for such projects will reduce the overall cost further,” said Animesh Manek, founder and director, Avishakti Rooftop Solar Pvt Ltd, which installed the project.

The plant runs on net-metering system which allows surplus power to be exported back to the grid. The temple pays for only as much is used. This helps when there is rain-fall or cloudy environment when the electricity is fetched from the grid which was already saved.

“Since Thane has been selected as one of the solar mission cities, the temple trust’s efforts are commendable. We are attempting to become the first zero-energy municipal corporation. We welcome citizens’ participation in helping us achieve a sustainable city,” said Sameer Unhale, additional commissioner, Thane Municipal Commissioner.

The 200 year old Siddhivinayak Ganpati Temple at Prabhadevi has been saving Rs 40000 per month. A 20 kilowatt-hour rooftop project comprising 72 panels and spread over 3000 square feet, helps in reducing their dependency on the grid.

Many other temples, mosques and churches have adapted this model and are helping in the growth of electricity generation using solar plants. The future generation is becoming increasingly aware and is adapting the solar plant thus reducing the green house effect and saving earth from its alter effects.

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