Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology is growing in importance worldwide as credible technology for supply of electricity for terrestrial applications. IIT Bombay has National Center for Photovoltaic Research and Education (NCPRE) established as part of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) to promote research and education in solar PV. Additionally, IIT Bombay is endeavouring towards making its campus green. One of the ways towards it is to install PV power plants in academic area of the campus for partial generation of the required electricity during daytime. Applauding the initiative taken by the Institute for harnessing solar energy, Dr. Agnihotri said, "I commend IIT Bombay for practicing what is generally being preached. The Institute should also start looking at other sources of energy such as Bio-gas and should share its best practices with other institutions as well."
The 1MWp plant consists of 16 smaller plants each having capacity of approx. 50-100 kWp. With the solar potential of average 5.32 peak sun hours per day and PV power system efficiency of 78%, the 1MWp Solar PV Power Plant is expected to produce average annual energy of approx. 1.4 million kWh for a period of minimum 20 years. The estimated plant capacity factor is 17%. "The plant will occupy approx. 12,000m2 area on the rooftops of 16 academic buildings. The power consumption of 16 academic buildings is of the order of 1500 kW peak while the average consumption is approximately 1000 kW. The Solar PV plant will supply up to 50% of peak load demand of 16 academic buildings. The electrical energy generated by the Solar PV plant will be up to 25% of the total energy requirement of the 16 academic buildings," informed Prof. Chetan Singh Solanki, Associate Professor, Department of Energy Science and Engineering, IIT Bombay. The 1MWp plant consists of 16 Nos. of distributed grid-interactive captive power systems. The solar generated AC power is monitored and supplied to local LT distribution grid. The energy generated during day is directly consumed by captive load and no energy storage is required. Each system consists of PV array, Power Control Unit and Balance of Systems. Mahindra EPC is implementing the project in three phases, while due diligence is provided by IIT Bombay academic and technical staff. The first phase of installation of 300 kWp PV capacity has been completed. The installation of entire 1MWp is likely to be completed by March 2014. "The largest power consumption at IIT Bombay is at our labs during day time and with more sophisticated equipments and labs coming up, our electricity consumption is going to increase. We see a great potential in solar energy to meet our growing requirements. The 1MW plant will enable us to reduce our electricity bills by 5% and it is expected that the investment made in this venture will be paid back in five years. This is not just an initiative to save money or reduce our carbon foot-print, but also an opportunity to understand how these systems function, especially for our students. We are moreover, exploring news ways to harness alternate and clean sources of energy", added Prof. Khakhar.