Meghalaya gets its first solar-powered college in Garo Hills
WILLIAMNAGAR: Meghalaya has added another jewel in its crown of achievements as the State is all set to get its first solar-power generated college soon.
A college in Meghalaya's East Garo Hills has set a benchmark for itself by becoming the first fully solar-powered institution in the state. A 15-MV solar power project was installed at Loyola College, Williamnagar, in its academic block in February this year.
The institution conceptualised the need for the project, as power supply to the institute was irregular and voltage fluctuations combined with lightning had caused extensive damage to electronic goods.
Fr Sunny Augustine SJ, principal of Loyola College said there was shortage in power supply. In order to generate alternative power they wanted to partner a government initiative to tap clean and renewable sources of energy. Hence, a proposal was submitted to the legislator Deborah Marak in this regard.
Fr Augustine said the institute generates twice the electricity it consumes through solar power plants installed on the roofs of the three-storied sprawling academic block. Since February 2016, the institute has been self-reliant in energy and produced 10 KW of power. By installing the solar energy project, the institution is saving on the cost of electricity. The institution terms the investment as the future, as a generation of students will learn the use of green and renewable energy, which is available in plenty in Garo hills.
The college, established by the Jesuit Fathers and Brothers in 2010, has filled the gap in providing higher education in East Garo Hills. In the absence of higher education facilities, students from East Garo Hills either had to study in Shillong, Tura or Guwahati or at government institutions, which do not have adequate infrastructure facilities.
The college provides higher secondary education under the Meghalaya Board of School Education and degree courses in arts and commerce under the North Eastern Hill University and has strength of 800 plus students.
He also said the surplus power generated could be given out to the grid but facilities for power sharing is not available in the district, though they have the option and the technology. At present, the entire institution is using the energy. Social welfare minister Deborah Marak dedicated the project to the college, which was operational since February. It may be noted that the minister had personally contributed to the setting up of the project.
(Image courtesy: Saidul Khan)