Chennai: IIT Madras Research Park, a 1.2 million square feet innovation park in Chennai, projects that it can operate on 90% ‘green power’ by December 2023 using a combination of roof-top solar, wind energy and leveraging battery storage technologies.

Further, the institution, which provides plug-and-play infrastructure for startups and corporate R&D centres, also estimates via a report that it can clock annual savings of almost Rs 4 crore (30% of its electricity cost) by putting renewable systems in place.

“Today we spend around Rs 12.30 per kwh (kilowatt hour) for electricity inclusive of DG set usage when required; we have contracted more solar and wind power and have also put in place storage systems that can bring down the cost to Rs 9.8 per kwh,” Ashok Jhunjhunwala, president, IIT Madras research park, told TOI.

The commercial complex is currently at around 30%-40% of green power usage, and will be using a mix of 5 MW (mega watt) of solar, 2 MW of wind energy along with energy storage systems such as chilled water storage and Lithium Ion battery storage to achieve the goal. The research park already has 1-MW of rooftop solar, and has a chilled water storage system in place. It is also in advanced stages of setting up large battery storage systems.

A report by the research park, titled ‘Zero to Green – Buildings for Planet and Profit’, takes the complex as a case study and shows that it can achieve over Rs. 32 lakh worth of savings in electricity costs by going for 90% renewable energy.“The total yearly expenditure on electricity for such a commercial complex from the local utility grid amounts to approximately Rs 18.9 crore.

Following investments in setting up solar, wind, storage, and an energy management system, we see that one can bring down the expenditure incurred on electricity by up to 30%, resulting in an annual savings of Rs 3.9 crore for the Research Park,” the report notes.

Further, the report shows that capital costs involved in setting up such renewable systems will yield a return on investment within 5.5 years. “India is going to build twice as many commercial complexes (in the future) as we already have today. New complexes should look at this model right from scratch,” Jhunjhunwala notes. What is lacking is awareness and the maturity level of technologies such as chilled water storage and battery storage, he adds.


Publication: Times of India

Read more by clicking on the link to the featured article below: