Kolkata parks to have India’s first carbon-neutral lighting

The City of Joy is poised to become the first city in the country to have its public parks illuminated by an automated carbon-neutral solar lighting system, reducing the carbon footprint and electricity bills.

The new automated solar lighting system, first installed at Deshapriya Park on a trial basis, would now be extended to 28 other parks by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, the custodian of the parks.

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.

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. 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. With this technology parks can be made 95 per cent carbon-neutral.

Parks under consideration for the project include prominent ones like Md Ali Park, College Square, Maddox Square and Subhas Sarobar Park.

When implemented, the project would result in monthly savings of lakhs of rupees in electricity bills, KMC MMIC Debashis Kumar said.

The system would also be useful for deployment in street lighting system as well as those on highways.

28 parks in Kolkata to be illuminated with solar lights

Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is taking a giant step to turn green compliant by installing panels to tap solar energy and illuminate 28 major parks and gardens.

With electricity bills shooting through the roof, KMC has asked the one of the leading institutions working on Renewable Energy, to design the project. Already, 50 solar poles have been installed at Deshapriya Park, which entailed a cost of Rs 40 lakh. The project will get Department of International development funding.

All solar street lighting systems that had come up earlier were battery-operated. But, it was for the first time in the country that a street lighting system is being generating power through solar panels having not battery. There is a micro-inverter that is being fixed with the panel that converts solar energy.

After monitoring the system since February this year, KMC authorities noticed a drastic 80% fall in electricity bill at Deshapriya Park. Around Rs 36,000 per month is being saved now at Deshapriya Park. Encouraged by the result, the KMC has taken the decision to light up 28 other parks, including Md Ali Park, College Square, Maddox square, Subhas Sarobar Park and others.

About Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000 for big parks and Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 for medium-sized parks will be saved per month once solar lights are installed. Around Rs 8 crore roughly will be saved every year. But funding is an issue for which the KMC authorities have taken up the issue with state power minister Manish Gupta and a committee has been formed for the task.

The KMC electricity department has been entrusted with surveying the selected 28 parks to submit a report within a month and the authorities plan to start implementing the project from this year end.