Clean Tech

Not a watt wasted — green is the colour of this partnership

V Rishi Kumar | Updated on May 22, 2018 Published on May 22, 2018

Energy-efficient CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Hyderabad, is using bi-facial solar modules to become the “first retrofit net zero” building

The India-Sweden Innovations’ Accelerator Programme gives a new shine to energy projects

Solar panels look impressive up on those roofs but how do they make a difference in our daily lives?

Well, for starters, if you live on a remote farmland, just a square metre of solar panel can help pump water for your farm and provide electricity for basic household needs such as lighting, fans, phones, even a small refrigerator!

What if you lived in an old building that runs up huge electricity bills? Solar makes a difference here too. Bi-facial solar systems — panels that draw energy from both sides — can be used to retrofit your house and energise it. The net result? You continue living in the old house but pay much less for electricity!

Not just these but a host of similar solutions — such as smart micro grids and building management systems — are now being explored and implemented, thanks to an Indo-Swedish collaboration.

The India-Sweden Innovations’ Accelerator Programme seeks to promote innovation in renewable energy efficiency and related spheres. Under this programme, 45-50 small and medium-sized Swedish enterprises, promoted by techno-preneurs, have been working with the CII-India Green Building Centre to share expertise, establish linkages, develop projects through local partners and possibly take these solutions global.

Two companies, PPAM Solarkraft and Regin AB, are looking to make the CII-IGBC the “first retrofit net zero” building. Swedish enterprises are setting up two projects here, one relates to installation of a two-way solar panel of 110 kwh. This will take the installed capacity of the centre to 130 kwh and make the building energy self-sufficient.

As part of the second project, “we have also deployed a Building Management System developed by a Swedish company. It helps monitor the building energy efficiency in real time even on a mobile phone. The existing legacy system has been replaced with the modern system,” explains KS Venkatagiri, Executive Director of IGBC and Head of CII Godrej Green Building Centre. The joint efforts have also resulted in a tie-up with the Swedish Energy Agency.

Venkatagiri says, “It is not just small companies but some major players too are engaging with these companies. For instance, Tata Solar, in association with a Swedish company, is deploying a Solar Smart Grid; another company is talking with Thermax.”

Sweden and other European countries have access to funds that can be deployed in energy-efficiency projects. These two companies have availed such facilities and deployed these solutions, he says.

Projects across sectors

“This programme has so far resulted in more than 35 projects implemented across India, in sectors like cement, power, pulp and paper, automation, smart grid, solar power, public transport, sugar and chemical sectors and many projects are in the final stages of discussion,” says Venkatagiri.

Tata Power signed up with Swedish Neutral, a Swedish company focusing on security in electrical systems. Another initiative with Aili Innovation is aimed at over 200 million people living on small farms without power supply, far beyond the mega cities.

Developed by Aili Innovation, an energy-efficient water pump with a square metre of solar cells can pump 24 cubic metres of water per day and provide a family with electricity for household needs such as lighting, fans, phones and even a small refrigerator, says Venkatagiri.

Venkatagiri says CII-IGBC, in line with its mission to promote green buildings, is installing bi-facial solar modules capable of generating electricity from both the sides, giving highest rated module efficiency.

It is also looking to partner with local companies to manufacture such modules for deployment in India and in other markets.

The IGBC plans to replicate this in other buildings and has initiated training and awareness. “This is just the beginning of a number of innovative products and solutions the association with Swedish companies can bring to not only India but to other parts of the world through local partners,” Venkatagiri says.

Published on May 22, 2018
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