Second phase of the solar power unit at the water treatment plant in Bhandup begins
FPJ Photo

In a bid to ease the burden of huge tariff towards electricity used at the Bhandup water treatment plant, the BMC has started the second phase of setting up of solar power plant on the reservoir of the facility complex for Rs. 11.23 crore. Civic officials are confident that the project will help save crores of rupees the administration has been spending on electricity.

The Bhandup plant, which is Asia’s largest water treatment plant, treats over 2,300 MLD (Milion litres daily) of water. It requires 45 lakh units of power every month, 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.

The project which was undertaken in two phases included the construction of a 2.5 MW plant in the first phase, on 26,000 square metres of land as a pilot project was completed in April 2018. Due to this project 46.70 lakh units of electricity could be made available for the plant till January 2020 which resulted in saving of Rs 3.40 lakh per month from the BMC's coffer.

With this in mind, the civic body has decided to set up another 2.5 MW solar power plant on the main balancing reservoir at Bhandup filtration plant.

“This unit will help us to tackle volatile electricity prices. Use of Solar power will help us reduce carbon and our operational cost too,” said a senior BMC official. The decision to set up a solar power system at the Bhandup water treatment plant was taken in 2008 to save power using unconventional energy sources. However, the same was approved by the civic standing committee only in 2016. Following which the first phase of the project was completed on April 15, 2018.

The Bhandup plant, which is Asia’s largest water treatment plant which treats raw water from four dams before supplying it to citizens’ homes, treats 2,300 MLD (million litres daily) of water. It requires 45 lakh units of power every month, 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. The electricity demand is increasing day by day and so is the cost.

“It will be the first time in the country that solar power will be used on such a large scale in the water treatment plant. There are other local bodies which are using solar power plants but of smaller capacities. The project is carried out by the civic body solely and is not a public-private partnership project. The power generated is being put to captive use," the official added.

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