Herald: Solar Steps: Walking the ‘Green Talk’
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Solar Steps: Walking the ‘Green Talk’

27 May 2018 05:29am IST

Report by
Ana Viegas

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27 May 2018 05:29am IST

Report by
Ana Viegas

Leave a comment

At a time when there is a need to bring sustainable power into Goa for a more sustainable, environmentally-healthier and safer future, Sun360, a solar solutions company, has designed a special solar power system that has helped to make Sundowner, a small local eco-resort, entirely sustainable and self-sufficient, in terms of power generation. Café finds out more

 

 

Across the creek from Palolem beach, on a little island quite

isolated from mainland Goa, stands a quiet, picturesque little resort with a bar and restaurant, bamboo guest huts, and equipped with its own sewage treatment plant – all of which are entirely run using a specially designed power system that harnesses solar energy. The Sundowner eco-resort is as eco-friendly as they come – a feature that has become its major USP.

Sundowner eco-resort was established in October 2017 by German Kim Wichmann. Owing to the resort being cut off from electricity and water supply, Kim initially opted to rely on a diesel generator working 14 hours a day to meet all his power requirements – operating lights and fans, refrigerator and other kitchen appliances, and the on-site sewage treatment plant. Spending Rs 1500 a day for a couple of months, the generator proved to be a money-guzzle; and worse-still, an environmental nemesis, that would have created a huge carbon footprint of10,000 kg CO2 emissions by the end of the season –requiring 458 trees to absorb the same amount of CO2 .

In stepped Sun360, a solar solutions company headquartered in Vasco Da Gama, and the innovative company behind Sundowner’s eco-friendly power system. Sun360 was approached by Kim December 2017; in search of more a cost-effective and eco-friendly means of power generation. Following an in-depth analysis of the resort’s consumption pattern, Sun360 designed a robust and resilient power system.

Spread across the 3200 square meters resort property, the power system, comprises a 3KW High Tech Inverter, 2.9KWp solar panels, and 4 gel-based maintenance-free batteries. The system also has a ‘Remote Monitoring& Controlling System’ which means that the system performance can be remotely tracked and controlled through the internet. Anish Sousa, Founder and CEO of Sun360, adds, “‘SUN360’s operations team continuously monitors Sundowner’s solar power system. As soon as we identify that the system performance has dipped, our operations team immediately springs into action. Also, based on the changing weather patterns, changes in the system settings can be done immediately from our Sun360 office, thereby allowing us to clock a virtual service time of less than 15 minutes, which is way above the industry benchmark for manual service being currently provided.”

Sundowner’s solar power system has a power factor close to ‘unity’ – this means that the system can handle full load, and comes with a fool-proof means of protection against overload, while providing appliances with stable conditioned power .The system also has an in-built automatic generator-starter, which automatically cranks up the backup diesel generator when required and switches it off when not – the system therefore functions independently, with nearly zero need for manual intervention With these features in place, Kim’s operation cost, in terms of power for Sundowner, has been reduced to merely Rs 250 per day, saving him around 2 Lakhs per season.

The resort stays open during the November to March season: and during the off season, from April to October, the system is easily disassembled and kept in storage until the next season.

This year, Sundowner plans to expand with more guest huts, and will therefore require more batteries and panels. Sun360 has however designed the system to be modular, which means that adding more panels, batteries and inverters, is a straightforward process. It will thus be easy for Kim, as with other small business owners opting for such interventions, to scale up quickly. Furthermore, despite being operated only during season time, Sundowner’s solar power system is estimated to pay for itself within a few seasons – thereafter, Kim’s power can be deemed free!

Anish adds, “If more and more small business owners become self-sufficient in terms of power, not only will the carbon footprint in Goa reduce tremendously, but also the local economy will receive a significant impetus, creating more jobs in the state in a sustainable manner.”

Sundowner isn’t the first project to benefit from Sun360’s solar power solutions. Aiming to “create a better tomorrow, today,” Sun360 is in the business of designing solar energy-based power systems for every purpose, from private homes to big factories to commercial enterprises like Sundowner, and has been involved in such projects across the country.

Pitching itself as “a clean tech company which prides itself on dedicated customer service and innovativsolutions”, Sun360 provides turnkey solutions for off-grid and on grid applications in the commercial, industrial and residential sectors. Having done projects that include a 10000 litre solar water heating system at Bambolim, Taj Exotica, Honeywell Technologies, Healthway Hospital, BITS Pilani (Goa Campus) ,a system for Basilica de Bom Jesus, Old Goa, solar-powered security fencing for Honeywell in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, and solar power for a food truck; SUN360’s customized solutions aim at harnessing the abundantly available, natural resource that is the sun, sustainable – of particular importance in an increasingly unsustainable era.

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