TWO YEARS after being approved by the civic standing committee, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally completed the work of installing a solar power unit at Asia’s largest water treatment plant in Bhandup. While the civic body has a target of setting up a solar power plant of 20 mega watt (MW) in two phases, the current set up will generate around 2.5 MW. The first phase, which has been concluded, included the construction of a plant 2.5 MW capacity on an area of 26,000 square metres on a pilot basis.
“We will run the 2.5 MW plant for the next two to three months before taking up the second phase. Our target is to set up a plant with a capacity to generate 20 MW. Meanwhile, we have already started running a small solar power project of 0.45 MW at the Pise Panjrapur water treatment plant,” said Sanjay Mukherjee, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Projects).
“This will be the first time in the country that a solar power will be used on such a large scale in a water treatment plant. Other local bodies have also used solar power plants but of smaller capacities. This is a civic body project and not a public private partnership project. The power generated will be put to captive use,” he added.
The Bhandup plant treats 2,300 MLD (million litres daily) of water. It requires 45 lakh units of power on a monthly basis, which comes to 5.40 crore units every year. For this, the BMC bears monthly and annual costs of Rs 3.50 crore and Rs 42 crore, respectively. This solar power unit will bear around 30 per cent of energy demand of the Bhandup plant, which treats raw water from four dams before supplying it to more than 20 lakh households across the city, officials said. “This unit will help us tackle the volatile electricity prices. Use of solar power will help us reduce carbon and our operational cost too,” said an official.
The decision to set up a solar power system at the Bhandup water treatment plant was taken in 2008 with a view to save power using unconventional energy sources. However, the same was approved by the civic standing committee only in 2016.
The work on second phase of the plant will begin only after the success of the 2.5 MW plant. “It will also ease the burden of power supply on the plant,” said a senior civic officer. The BMC is planning to install more such solar panel projects across the city in the next six months to cut down its expense on electricity, said officials.