From the time man first rubbed two stones together to light a fire, energy – and the way it is used – has shaped the history of mankind. In the modern context too, one of the key indicators of economic growth has been the per capita consumption of energy.
As an emerging economy, the demand for energy in India is rising exponentially. These rising energy demands, combined with spiraling energy prices, worrying pollution levels and energy-security risks, have created an urgent need to diversify our energy sources. Increasingly, concerned industries and individuals are turning to renewable energies. Despite being around for more than three decades now, the contribution of renewable energies to the energy basket has been rather insignificant. Our work and lifestyle continue to revolve around finite fossil fuels.
But how much longer can we continue to exploit and deplete our resources? How much longer can we watch mutely as they cause irreparable damage to the environment? How much longer can we turn a deaf ear to the predictions of climate change and global warming? How much longer can we ignore the very real concerns of energy security and energy independence?
Renewable energies can address the above concerns effectively. They are infinite and available in abundance (for instance, India receives solar energy equivalent to over 5000 trillion kwhr/year); they are clean and green and do not harm the environment; most importantly, their inclusion in the energy portfolio will play a crucial role in accelerating development in energy-starved regions even as they reduce India's dependence on oil imports.
What then is stopping us from going all out to adopt renewable energies? It is not for lack of availability. It is not even the cost. Technological improvements and government interventions have brought wind and solar energy solutions close to competing with grid electricity. The real barriers then are the ones that exist in our minds.
Showing how the 21st century can benefit from an energy source as old as life itself
Tata BP Solar believes that while it is important to create solar solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into the lives of our customers, it is equally important to get people to see solar energy in the right light. It is this belief that has shaped Arunodaya.
Arunodaya aims at engaging like-minded individuals, decision-makers and opinion-leaders in an ongoing dialogue on solar energy, its versatile applications, its economic viability, its relevance to the future and its awesome potential in enhancing the quality of life of millions across the world.
The activities of this not-for-profit programme include regular interactive sessions, with NGOs, educational institutions, research establishments and industries, with the objective of promoting and propagating the use of solar energy. These workshops are conducted all over the country.Objectives of Arunodaya
||To popularise the use of solar energy, persuade and enlighten individuals and groups in the corporate and public sectors.|
||To share knowledge of the recent advancements and applications in solar technology with doctors, NGOs, architects, builders, chartered accountants and promoters.|
||To induct participants into solar energy solutions and enable them to focus on this giant power source.|
||To take them through the international technology status and forecasted developments.|
||To help them appreciate how solar energy can solve the debilitating effects of energy poverty as well as environmental problems.|
Reaching out to energise and enlighten
The Arunodaya programmes are conducted by the Tata BP Solar team. These are competent professionals who have spent years in the solar industry and have played a pivotal role in designing, installing and commissioning thousands of solar systems all over the country. The Tata BP Solar team not only knows its subject extensively but is also passionate about it. Guest lectures by experts in the field or other eminent personalities also form part of the workshops.
Regional coordinators have been appointed to interact with institutions in their area, interested in partnering this unique initiative to create awareness on the benefits of renewable energy with specific focus on solar energy.
The workshop methodology adopted by Arunodaya is participative and interactive. Presentations, case studies, discussions, plant visits and live demonstrations make the workshops a truly enlightening experience.
Since its launch in December 2004, Arunodaya has reached out to varied segments including industry, academics, banks and NGOs in cities and towns across the country.
The recent inclusion of environment and energy as a subject of study and specialisation in the curriculum has seen a sharp rise in renewable energy amongst students. It has also been observed that the future citizens are better able to appreciate the energy / environmental issues that threaten the future in which they have a much greater stake. To arm these change agents with the right knowledge, Arunodaya has conducted extensive programmes in various schools and colleges.
The first half of 2006 saw Arunodaya programmes being conducted in several schools, engineering colleges, polytechnics, training institutes and even a management institute. Comprising professionally-designed and academically-oriented modules highlighting the challenges ahead and the intelligent choices we need to make to safeguard our future, the programmes served as a catalyst in igniting young minds and opening them up to the renewable options available to them.
Buoyed by the success, Tata BP Solar tied up with The Energy Resources Institute, (TERI, the erstwhile Tata Energy Research Institute). TERI has built a strong reputation for itself as one of the most respected educators focusing on environmental-related issues. The green collaboration witnessed the launch of a mega programme between August and November 2006.
Over a thousand high school children from 25 leading schools of Bangalore participated in as many as 13 Arunodaya Programmes, consisting of multimedia presentations and interactive classroom sessions. These were further reinforced by product demonstrations within the TERI campus and a visit to an Energy Park that had on display several live demonstrations and a model solar-powered home.
The programme culminated in a grand finale with poster and painting competitions besides renewable energy modeling. The overwhelming participation and the high quality of entries were clear evidence of the unlimited creative energy the programme unleashed in the young minds. It was not an easy decision for the judges evaluating the entries. Differently-abled children from the spastic society, ignited as they were by the learning experience, put up an entry that won them the first prize in the poster competition. Reporters from all leading newspapers were present at the event and all the papers published news items covering the event.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that Tata BP Solar's efforts to spread awareness on the relevance of renewable energy and its benefits, through the Arunodaya initiative, are bearing rich fruits. Tata BP Solar commits itself with renewed vigour to multiply this programme on its own strength and in collaboration with institutions and organisations of repute who share the same concern and commitment to give further momentum to the efforts to create a greener and more secure future.
Largest solar water heating systems
Sprawled across 270 acres, Infosys' campus in Mysore is home to the Global Education Centre, the largest of its kind in the world.
Adding a green touch to this world-class campus is Tata BP Solar, with its solar water heating systems. Tata BP Solar recently bagged an order from Infosys for supply and installation of solar water heating systems totaling a capacity of 2,42,000 litres per day (lpd). It includes 15 systems of 5000lpd, 33 systems of 4000lpd and 13 systems of 3000lpd. These systems will cater to the requirement of inmates in 7000 rooms in the campus with a peak load demand equivalent of 10 mw on an average occupancy of 75 per cent. The running cost of the project is 90 per cent less than that of conventional diesel / electrical modes. Since April 2005, Tata BP Solar has commissioned about 84 solar water heating systems of 147,000lpd capacity in the same premises.Village electrification via solar energy in Chattisgarh
Almost 50 per cent of the geographical area of the state of Chattisgarh is covered by thick forests. Besides being home to a rich diversity of plants (many of them with medicinal properties), animals (including endangered species) and micro-organisms, the forests are also the only known habitat for a large tribal population.
Currently, 16000 villages are un-electrified in the state. Of these, 1250 villages are so isolated that the state electricity board has declared them as "inaccessible to grid power". It is not that there is a deficit of power in Chattisgarh. In fact, with the potential to produce up to 50,000 mw of power, Chattisgarh is poised to become the power hub of India. But connecting these villages to conventional grid power poses its own challenges – economic, social and environmental. It would mean denuding large areas of forest, which maintain the delicate ecological balance of the region – conserving soil and water, controlling floods, drought and pollution.
Which is why the Chattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA), under the department of energy, Chattisgarh, looked at more environment-friendly options like solar power to electrify villages in dense forests. Working with the state electricity board, CREDA will electrify over 1253 villages with priority being given to non-electrified police stations in the naxalite-affected districts.
Tata BP Solar has been working closely with CREDA during the last 5-6 years. It has set up over 100 solar power plants in a phased manner, in 107 villages across 5 districts. Ranging from 1kwp to 6kwp, these plants provide power for 6 to 22 streetlights and 38 to 220 home lighting systems per village / cluster. The grid quality power from the solar power plants has had a positive impact on the health, education, entertainment and economic activities in these villages, largely populated by poor tribes.
After the successful implementation of this project, which was completed on time, with no Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) violations, Tata BP Solar has received another significant order from CREDA for 112 solar power plants with a total size of 0.5 mw amounting to Rs216 million.