Kolkata: State Power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay inaugurated two solar trees with the capacity of producing 6.5 MW power at the office of West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd (WBPDCL).
"Land is gradually becoming scarce in our state. 4 acres of land is required for producing 1 MW of power through conventional methods. However, solar trees require much less amount of land. So, we are setting up such solar trees as an alternative. If we find that these solar trees work out well for us, we will be setting up more such trees in the state to harness solar power," Chattopadhyay said.
The solar trees have been named Sourashree by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The total cost of setting up the infrastructure has been Rs 8.5 lakhs. Chattopadhyay maintained that the solar tree is strong enough to withstand a storm and needs minimum maintenance.
"The panel should be washed with water from time-to-time for maintenance," the minister said. A similar type of solar tree of 10 MW capacity has already been set up at Keoratala crematorium in South Kolkata a few days ago.
Scientists at Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) in Durgapur, have developed this 'solar tree', made out of photovoltaic panels. The 'tree' that requires less than 4 sqft of space, can power about five households.
The state government under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Aloshree project is gradually lighting up all state government offices, municipalities, corporations, panchayats, schools, state-run public sector undertakings and all other autonomous bodies of the state government and offices, by installing solar panels on the roof of these buildings. The PDCL office, as well as the office of Paribesh Bhavan, have solar panels on their roofs.
"Such solar panels contribute to slashing of crippling power bills and promote green energy," a senior official of the state Power department said.
According to the official, the solar panels to be set up on the roof of the buildings will range from 20 KV to 60 KV. Installation cost varies from Rs 10,00,000 to Rs 60,00,000 for each panel.