Be A Bijli Donor - Save Electricity
  • Home/
  • Himachal Pradesh's The Kalgidhar Society Saves Rs. 3.4 Crore Per Annum By Harnessing The Power Of Solar

Himachal Pradesh's The Kalgidhar Society Saves Rs. 3.4 Crore Per Annum By Harnessing The Power Of Solar

Himachal Pradesh's The Kalgidhar Society Saves Rs. 3.4 Crore Per Annum By Harnessing The Power Of Solar
New Delhi: 

Nestled in the Himalayas, Baru Sahib is known as the solar village of Himachal Pradesh. In 2002, The Kalgidhar Society, a non-profit charitable organisation, that runs 129 schools and 2 universities with a focus on providing quality education, initiated the concept of solar energy in Baru Sahib. To begin with, the organisation installed a solar water heater system with a capacity of heating 18,000 litres of water per day. Installed in the mountains, a solar water heater produces hot water during the daytime which is stored in an insulated storage tank for multiple purposes – bathing, washing, cleaning, among others. The hot water from this plant is used by both students and staff members of the society's campus in Baru Sahib. This move resulted in annual savings of Rs. 15.21 lakh and eliminated the society's dependence on 1,460 LPG cylinders every year.

Also Read: Are You Planning To Switch To Solar? Before You Go Ahead Ensure These 5 Things Are In Place

Talking to NDTV about the idea behind bringing in the solar wave in a small village of Himachal Pradesh almost two decades ago, Dr Davinder Singh, Secretary, The Kalgidhar Society, gave the credit to the President and one of the volunteers of the organisation. He said,

Along with his firm belief in value based education, our President Iqbal Singh also believes in the adoption of renewable sources of energy as it not only helps in enhancing the sustainability of the academies but also contributes a lot to the mother planet. Seeing the impact of global warming and our dependence on fossil fuels, Mr Singh initiated the adoption of solar energy. Also, one of the volunteers M.P. Singh, a torch bearer for solar at Baru Sahib, introduced solar at The Kalgidhar Society, conceptualised projects like Himachal Pradesh's first standalone 200 kilowatts peak (kWp) solar power plant, solar water heating system, and other solar based projects at Baru Sahib.

Also Read: This Mumbai Housing Society Fulfills 42 Per Cent Of Its Daily Energy Requirement Through Solar

Impressed with the power of the Sun, monetary savings and their reduced dependence on LPG, The Kalgidhar Society introduced various kinds of solar projects at Baru Sahib like concentrator thermal solar system for community cooking to feed 5,500 people every day. Here's a brief of solar projects that were first kick started in Baru Sahib and paved the way for initiation of solar in other academies run by the society:

Solar Photo Voltaic Plants For Power Generation

The grid connected rooftop solar projects of capacity 1.7 MWp spread across 57 locations produce energy which is used for the daily consumption of the academies. The electricity generated by the solar panels during the day time is first utilised to meet the establishment's requirement and the surplus or unused power is exported to the local DISCOMs' (Distribution Companies) grid on a daily basis. At the end of the month, all the exported power is credited into the bill.


Solar power plants installed at an academy in Punjab's Bilga

Concentrated Solar Thermal Technology Community Cooking System

The central kitchen of Baru Sahib cooks and feeds 5,500 people including students and staff members every day. As per the officials, the kitchen would require over 18,000 LPG cylinders every year to prepare food for the people in the campus. However, in 2013, they shifted to 28 scheffler dishes to harness the power of the sun for cooking. Explaining the structure and functioning of a scheffler dish, Mr Singh said,

A scheffler dish is made of a number of flat shaped mirrors mounted on a structural frame. Opposite it stands a dome shaped receiver which contains a thermic fluid. Scheffler dish moves to reflect the sun rays to a fixed receiver that further heats up the thermic fluid upto 180 degrees Celsius. The fluid is then transferred through a pipe to the kitchen for cooking.

Also Read: Save Power For More Power: Five Easy Ways To Conserve Energy And Be Energy Efficient

Mr Singh informed that by shifting from LPG cylinders to thermic oil-based solar assisted cooking system, the kitchen saves Rs. 1.9 crore annually.

Impact Of Solarisation By The Kaligdhar Society

Over the years, the solar photo voltaic (SPV) project has been expanded to other schools and universities established under The Kalgidhar Society across India. Together, SPV plants generate 22 lakhs of units per annum which saves up to Rs. 1.5 crore. All the solar projects were implemented under the subsidy schemes of the government, corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and by taking loans from the banks.

Currently, of the 129 schools and 2 universities, 11 schools and a university are running on almost 100 per cent solar and 45 schools have small solar plants. Overall, the aggregate capacity for all solar power plants is 1.7MWp (Megawatt peak).


Rooftop solar power plants installed to conserve energy and save the environment

Also Read: Don't Let These Misconceptions Stop You From Switching To Solar Energy

Mr Singh said that with the implementation of the solar projects, energy bills of solarised academies have been reduced significantly and in some academies, bills are reduced to the extent of paying fixed charges only. For instance, in Punjab's Bhadaur, an academy's energy bills have reduced by around 80 per cent, courtesy solar power plants of capacity 70.40 kWp installed in the campus.

NDTV compared the energy bills of Akal Academy in Bhadaur and it was seen that while for the month of May 2018, the power bill was over Rs. 50,000, in May 2019, the bill came down to Rs. 9,210.

These solar power plants have a lifespan of 25 years. Over their life, solar power plants will contribute to reducing 35,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions from the environment. For offsetting this much of carbon emission, 92,000 trees would be required, said Mr Singh.

Though the society is reaping the benefits of solar energy, it wasn't easy for them majorly because most of the schools are in rural areas. The three main challenges were – logistical that involved the availability of resources and labour in remote areas; capital expenditure (CAPEX); lack of net metering facility.

Watch: How To Conserve Energy And Be A Bijli Donor

Under the net metering concept, the surplus energy produced through solar is fed into the grid. Similarly, if someday, the energy requirement is more than the production, one can import it from the grid just like they do in the absence of solar panels. When one gets solar panels installed, a bidirectional meter is installed which keeps a record of both import and export of energy. At the end of the month, a consumer has to pay for the net energy consumed.

Based on his experience, Mr Singh believes switching to solar only has advantages and there are no disadvantages. Some of the benefits listed by Mr Singh are reduced energy bills; enhanced self-sustainable capacity of the academies; encouragement for the students to see the live model for solar energy generation; reduced carbon emissions; independence from the increasing tariff of the electricity with the benefit of net metering.

While signing off, Mr Singh shared the future plans of The Kalgidhar Society in terms of introducing solar, he said,

We wish to install such solar power plants in all of our schools and universities to maximise the benefit of renewable energy and contribute to the environment as much as possible. This will not only help us in our vision of enhancing the self-sustainability of our academies by reducing our energy bills but would also help to reduce the carbon emission from the environment, especially in our country where the levels of pollution are creating new records.

Also Read: What Makes LED Lights 90 Per Cent More Energy Efficient And Environment Friendly?

Share this story on

save energy and Be a Bijli Donor

pledge now

About The Campaign

About The Campaign

NDTV in partnership with Luminous has launched an awareness campaign ‘Be A Bijli Donor’ to promote the idea of ‘save power for more power’. The idea is to conserve energy today in order to get more power tomorrow.


We inherently know that saving energy results in low energy bills, but we also need to understand that a unit of energy saved today makes it available for people still living in the dark or facing regular power cuts.


Saving power or conserving energy is about knowing the sources of energy, and areas of wastage and thereby eliminating these through technology and lifestyle changes. For instance, a 100 W (Watt) incandescent (ICL) bulb can be replaced with a 9 W LED bulb offering similar performance in terms of light output, but at far lower consumption of energy.


While a 100 W ICL bulb, used for four hours a day, consumes 146 units of energy per year, a 9 W LED bulb requires only 13.5 units per year. Clearly, switching to LED is a smart choice as it provides the same output while consuming 90 per cent less energy.


The focus of the campaign is to instill the idea of ‘save power for more power’ and in order to do so, the initiative will create awareness about energy efficient products and services, smart ways to reduce power consumption, alternate sources of energy like solar energy and the need to conserve energy. The idea is to address the rising need for energy conservation in India.


As part of the campaign, we will highlight the stories of individuals and organisations who are championing the cause of energy conservation by switching to renewable sources of energy, adopting innovations to reduce energy consumption while enjoying the same output.


The initiative will provide a platform for all stakeholders to share their ideas and work towards the common goal of, ‘Save power for more power’.