You must remember the definition of Sustainable Development that your Science book taught you back in school – “Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” With the recent developments in technology, this theoretical statement has achieved a practical application in the everyday lives of the students who previously used to rote learn it for the sake of exams.
Now the students have the privilege of understanding the use and benefits of Sustainable Development up close through personal experience. Especially since the use of Solar Power in schools and universities across the country caught on.
A lot of the schools and universities throughout India are well on their way to becoming fully solar powered. A lot of colleges of Delhi University use solar energy to cover their electricity requirements. Jamia Millia Islamia will soon be using solar energy as its sole source of Electricity across campus.
So, what is Solar Energy?
Solar Energy refers to the energy harnessed from the Sun’s radiant Light using technology such as solar heating, molten salt power plants, solar thermal energy, photovoltaics, solar architecture etc. Under this, PV Solar Panels which constitute of solar cells made of silicon are used to generate electricity from solar power.
As awareness about Solar Power is spreading and our society is increasingly becoming more and more environmental friendly. The application of Solar Power is becoming more common across all personal and corporate spaces. Schools and Colleges are doing their part in Sustainable Development.
Discussed below are some ways in which the use of Solar Power benefits the schools and universities.
- Reduced electricity bills – Generating Solar power from your solar panels allows you to replace solar energy with electricity that needs to be bought from the electricity company. It, therefore, cuts down the electricity costs. This allows the institution to use that money for some other purpose say infrastructure, updating the library collection for the students, etc.
- Boost enrollment– At a time when there are a number of schools and universities that offer the best quality education, students and their parents decide on which institution to choose, depending on the infrastructure of the institute. An eco-friendly infrastructure that uses solar power, has a considerable edge over other institutes. Parents who are environment-friendly will prefer to enroll their students in institutes that support Sustainable development instead of extinguishing natural resources.
- Teach by example – Merely adding Sustainable Development to the curriculum is not enough. The best way to teach students is through examples. Therefore, turning to solar power to save the environment sends a message to the students. They understand its importance and take away from the values of their institute. This also means that the students too will grow to be proponents of environment-friendly practices.
- Reduces carbon footprint – Solar panels do not cause pollution unlike the conventional sources of energy. The conventional sources like coal, gas, and oil leave a carbon footprint as their use leads to the emission of greenhouse gas. Carbon Footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere by the activities of an individual, organization or a community. Solar energy, on the other hand, does not have any such repercussions. It does not negatively impact the environment in any way.
- Renewable energy source – Using solar energy instead of fossil fuels to generate electricity means that we do not cut into the already limited natural resources. The fossil fuels which takes millions of years to form are non-renewable resources. Whereas resources like the wind and sunlight are renewable resources that can be naturally replenished in a short period of time. Hence, there is no need to worry about running out of sunlight! This makes it the best replacement for other non-renewable sources of energy.
- Low maintenance costs – Solar Panels are very low maintenance. They do not require a lot of up-keep. You just have to clean the panels every once in a while and make sure all wirings are intact.
- Multiple uses of solar power – Solar Power generated from Solar panels can be used for multiple purposes. It is not limited to the use of electricity for light. It can be used to run generators, and in laboratories, etc.
- No extra space – Solar panels can be easily installed on the roof. Since the roof of schools and colleges is any way generally not put to any use, this is the best way to occupy this space. Irrespective of roof type, solar panels can be easily installed. This means that this source of energy does not require you to allocate specific space, for say a transformer or a gas grid.
Schools and Universities are the best institutes to set up an example for the society to perform their duty towards the environment. This initiative on the part of the educational institutes across India, not just saves the environment but also ensures that students learn good values as they grow up, and hopefully emulate them later in their life.