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The power broker
Sridhar Murthy created a bit of a sensation in Bangalore earlier this year when the Bangalore Mirror carried a story on the man who doles out electricity to Bescom, Bangalore's electricity supply company.
Solar panels fitted in Murthy's north Bangalore home can generate 1. 8 kW of power. His panels generate roughly 8-10 units of power in a day. This is more than what Murthy's family of four utilises on a typical day. Thanks to the grid-interactive system he has, the excess power can be fed back into the city's power grid. "In Germany, where this system is popular, homeowners sell power to utility companies. But that doesn't exist here, I give it to Bescom for free, " he says.
Murthy's interest in renewable energy grew during 30 years of working with AEG Power Solutions, a global provider of power electronic systems with interest in renewable energy solutions and energy-efficiency solutions. The company's office has had its garage rooftop converted into a solar-power generating hub that can generate 15 kW. When they were constructing their house in Bangalore's Rajajinagar, the Murthys paid special attention to the rooftop where they decided to create a canopy. They were also looking for a place to install solar panels. "The idea clicked into place when we decided that we could make the canopy out of solar panels, " says Murthy.
Today, while the family is plugged into the grid, it uses Bescom power only to run the submersible pressure pump used to lift water from the underground borewell. Murthy advises those installing solar energy systems to invest in a good inverter to take care of appliances that typically need a surge of power at start-up (water pumps, washing machines etc) to avoid damage to these appliances. He emphasises that these systems are essentially maintenance-free with close to zero recurring or running costs. The batteries need to be changed only once in four-five years at a cost of roughly Rs 20, 000, and barring mishaps, solar panels can potentially work for decades. "They need to be cleaned once in two weeks or so. There is no other major maintenance required. The system works smoothly and efficiently. Given the fact that the costs of creating renewable energy are coming down, this is the future, " says Murthy.
MURTHY HOUSE, BANGALORE
Canopy of solar panels Extra powerful batteries Uses Bescom power only to run water pump.
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