Kolkata is poised to become India’s first city to have its public parks illuminated by an automated carbon-neutral solar lighting system, reducing the carbon footprint and electricity bills.
The new system, first installed at Deshapriya Park on a trial basis, would now be extended to 28 other parks by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. “The unique part in this solar lighting system is that it is battery-less and connected with the power grid. An automatic control system has been put in place and the lights will be switched on automatically after evening and switched off in the morning,” says renewable energy expert S P Gon Chowdhury, who has devised the technology.
The lights will also dim automatically after midnight when requirement is low.
Explaining the concept of carbon-neutrality manager, Chowdhary said that the system would push solar energy generated during daytime back into the main electricity grid with the aid of a micro-converter.
“No battery is therefore needed. The amount of solar electricity produced through the solar panels is recorded on an electric meter. It is carbon-neutral because it produces as much electricity as it consumes,” the solar expert said, claiming that the carbon neutrality manager, developed by him, is a first in the world.
The pilot project began earlier this year with Deshapriya Park where they have installed 50 solar electric posts having 180 Watt solar panels with LED lights. The system would also be useful for deployment on highways.
“We have been very successful in that project. Earlier the electricity bill used to be Rs 17,000, but now it has come down drastically to less than Rs 2,000. That is 90 per cent savings,” Chowdhury said adding that with this technology parks can be made 95 per cent carbon-neutral.