The campus of the College of Military Engineering (CME) in Pune, spread across 3,600 acres and home to almost 11,000 people, is all set to get a 2 Mega Watt (MW) solar power system by the end of this year. The capacity of the system is slated to be upgraded to 12 MW in the next four years.
The CME, one of the premier technical and tactical training institutes of the Indian Army, also trains officers and personnel from the Navy, Air Force, paramilitary forces and police. The institution conducts as many as 130 different courses every year and trains 1,800 military officers, 2,500 military personnel, 200 officers from friendly foreign countries and 150 civilians.
The project will not only enable the CME campus to operate without any external or conventional sources of power supply, but it will also be able give as much as 7 MW to the national grid in later years. Currently, the campus has a power requirement of 3 MW, which is expected to increase to 5 MW if its expansion plans are taken into account.
As part of the National Solar Mission, the CME has undertaken a three phase programme for setting up a solar power system on campus. In the first phase, a 2 MW system will be set up and it is expected to become operational by December this year. The next two phases comprise setting up solar systems of 5 MW each, and they are expected to be completed in the next four years.
“The current requirement of the CME campus is around 3 MW. But because several building blocks and training facilities are coming up in the next five years, the power requirement is expected to rise to 5 MW and by then, we would be generating 12 MW of power. So, there will be a surplus of 7 MW, which we plan to give back to the national grid,” said an officer from the CME.
“The large tracts of open space available within the CME will accommodate the solar panels that will be installed for power generation,” added the officer.
He added, “The Maharashtra government currently has a policy to get back one MW of power into the grid from small players. At the level of the Ministry of Defence, there is discussion about giving back the surplus power that we will generate. The project will not just make the campus independent of conventional sources of electricity, but we will also be able to contribute to the national power requirement in a sustainable way.”