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Construction : Technology | December 2015 | Source : CW-India

A New Level of Autarky

A solar management system installed in The Shiv Public School in Gurgaon saves up to 6,850 litres of diesel per year and avoids 13.4 tonne of CO2 emissions annually.

For a long time now, The Shiv Public School in Gurgaon has been severely affected by the electricity crisis, attributed to the absence of reliable grid power in the semi-urban and rural parts of the country. The school, which was completely running on diesel-generated power, decided to switch to solar energy to circumvent the area´s erratic and unreliable power supply.

In view of this, the meeco Group, an empanelled channel partner of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in India, recently had a 13.4 kWp PV installation combined with a solar energy management system - sun2safe - installed at the school. Claudio Alberti, Head-Energy Storage Solutions, The meeco Group, explains how this system has worked so successfully for the school...

  • All-in-one system: The solar energy management system - sun2safe - is an all-in-one converter/inverter system, enabling better insight into power production and use, thus leading to better management of produced energy and generating savings. First developed as a monitoring tool for meeco´s sun2live power production and storage solution and sun2com solar telecommunication, the system is a fully integrated power conversion, storage and management system. The device is composed of three core elements: A battery charger with two PV ports with independent MPPT (maximum power point tracking) tracking channels, an inverter powered either by battery or AC line, and a microprocessor unit with integrated communication facilities (WiFi, wired and via mobile networks) for the management and continued optimisation of the energy uses as well as a display for simple parameter consultation. The first sun2safe-concept was developed in 2010 for off-grid customers, wanting to reduce their dependence from fuel. The meeco Italian team, meeco Services Italia Srl, engineered a prototype system, which was first installed on two islands in the Caribbean. The success became visible through the crucial energy and cost savings and led to the decision to place sun2safe as a product in the market.
  • Application and usage: The solar energy management system has a simple installation process and is easy to control. It can be applied in computers, fans, lighting, water coolers, etc, of schools, in hospitals, communities; for base transceiver stations (BTS) in telecommunication; and in residential areas with poor grid quality or availability. This solution, equipped with energy storage and remote service and monitoring facilities, ensures that the produced energy is intelligently managed to feed the connected consumers or to provide surplus energy into the battery. It also allows for better insight and monitoring of power production versus consumption, leading to better understanding, and, thereby, management of produced energy and savings. The best time to optimise the benefits of a hybrid energy management is to consider it from the start of a project and design the whole integrated system around the customer´s needs. Energy needs and availability of different power sources determine the storage sizing and this, in turn, determines the sizing of the PV section.
  • Cost and lifecycle: The system ensures a predictable energy supply; it can also be applied as an immediate and long-term cost savings technique. It pays back the cost several times over a lifetime. For example, in The Shiv Public School, the cost savings were in excess of Rs 8.5 lakh per annum. Its professional power electronics adds reliability. It also has backup power in case of a grid failure. Use with high-quality deep cycle batteries provides long operation before substitution. The solar system is an environment-friendly energy conversion, storage and management solution.

Benefits and advantages of the system 

  • Zero emissions.
  • Independence from electricity cuts and future increases in grid tariff.
  • Charging batteries using PV energy or AC line.
  • Supplying loads with the energy stored in the batteries when PV power available is insufficient or absent.
  • Providing energy to the point of need without interruptions.
  • Keeping the PV live by removing the need for a counter current.
  • Ensuring no loss of produced energy by jointly powering the equipment and charging the battery with available excess PV energy.
  • Continuous insight into critical equipment and environmental conditions through intelligent controls, real-time metering, production and power usage statistics and enhanced monitoring devices offer.

Case study: The Shiv Public School in Gurgaon
A 13.4 kWp PV installation combined with a solar energy management system - sun2safe - has been installed, which is now able to save up to 6,850 litres of diesel per year and avoid 13.4 tonne of CO2 emissions annually.

This solar initiative enables the school to tackle rising electricity bills by reaching a new level of autarky through energy self-sufficiency and independence from the national grid.

The solar plant is taking care of the complete needs of the school, including lighting, fans, water coolers and computers.

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