If the lights seem a bit brighter at night at Raj Bhavan, thank the sun.
The Governor’s majestic office and residence in Ranchi now enjoys the benefits of solar power, making Jharkhand the fifth state in the country to embrace the potent environment-friendly energy source.
Following on the footsteps of Punjab, Pondicherry, Haryana and Chhattisgarh, Ranchi Raj Bhavan has successfully installed two solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants, 20.9kw and 10kw, on its premises.
As of now, solar energy is being used to light up the 62 acre campus at night, run appliances like fans and office paraphernalia like computers and printers.
“We can now say that we have successfully put Raj Bhavan on solar energy for most of its power usage,” said Ashok Kumar, director of Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Authority that handled the switch-over.
“There are 100 street lights and 50 boundary lights inside the estate. Of these, 75 are powered by the 10kw station and 25 lights by the 20.9kw one. The remaining lights will be connected soon. This apart, both the power stations are connected to a few staff quarters,” he said, adding that office computers and printers were also on solar energy.
If the idea, as Kumar says, is to cut down on electricity bills, the effort has paid off. While exact consumption figures of Raj Bhavan could not be ascertained, solar energy was taking care of 40-45KVA requirement by powering the boundary lights, street lights, barrack lights and the office equipment.
According to a Jharkhand State Electricity Board assistant engineers deputed there, Raj Bhavan has over 50 air conditioners, 30 heaters, 20 geysers, over 35 fans installed in 14 rooms in the main building, 12 residential quarters and office areas. This apart, there are four police barracks with five-six lights and fans, and four to five water pumps.
“To meet these requirements, we have two transformers here — 200 KVA (kilo volt ampere) and 100 KVA capacity as stand by. Considering these facts, solar energy has brought about handsome savings,” he said.
A JREDA official vouches for Ranchi’s technological superiority in matters solar. “Although, a few other states like Bengal and Maharashtra have adopted solar energy, none has a set-up like our Raj Bhavan,” he claimed.
He explained how the system worked. The two solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants are connected with battery banks which store energy form the sun. Power is fed wherever it is needed with the help of inverters.
The photovoltaic cells have a life of 30 years. The battery packs need to be replaced every seven to eight years.
Raj Bhavan’s solar energy project began two years ago when only a few campus lights were powered by it. Work gathered steam in the last one year.
“In the late 2011, we set up the 20.9kw power station. Work to install the 10kw plant ended a month ago. Both are functional now,” said the JRDEA official.
Kumar said funding for the project, Rs 77 lakh approximately, came from the Centre.