The Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education in Puducherry is the first fully solar-powered educational institute in India. With solar panels installed on almost all the rooftops in the campus, the school produces three times more energy than what it consumes.  

Many schools encourage their students to switch off the fans and lights after use, plant trees and take other initiatives to save energy. However, very few go beyond just asking them to take precautions and save energy. SAICE is different. This educational institute is self-reliant in terms of energy; it meets all its energy requirements through solar power. Moreover, it produces three times the electricity it consumes and lights up many other buildings with the excess energy. And it has done so by devising and implementing a project almost entirely on its own.

SAICE is a part of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. It was in 2012 that Dr. Brahmanand Mohanty, an alumnus of SAICE, came up with the idea of making the ashram energy efficient with the help of a sustainable model.

Dr. Mohanty had a vision of developing a system that would make SAICE self-dependent for energy. With this in mind, he had a meeting with the trustees of the Ashram. They gave him the go ahead and even suggested that pilot research activities should be taken up with the active participation of the young teachers and students at the Institute. And then it all began. The whole project was conducted in two phases from 2012 to 2015.

Following this analysis, all inefficient lamps, fans, air conditioners, and computers, which had been in use since a long period of time, were substituted by more energy-efficient alternatives to lower the energy demand by more than 25 percent, without compromising on the quality and service.

With a better understanding of how much energy the educational institute was consuming, they came to the decision that a solar power plant should be installed inside the campus so as to meet all the energy demands in-house. Thus, a 17 kWp rooftop solar power plant was set up in the school by an Auroville-based solar installer.Teachers and students were involved in the entire process right from the start. They helped in the basic wiring, setting up the panels on the rooftop, and more.

Credit : The better india

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Palli, a village in Jammu and Kashmir's border district of Samba, became India's first "carbon-neutral panchayat on April 24, 2022, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating to the nation a 500-kilowatt solar plant. Palli, according to the Prime Minister, has shown the way to the country by becoming carbon neutral. But what is carbon neutrality and how can it be achieved? Let's find out.

What is carbon neutrality?

We all know that carbon dioxide emissions are one of the primary causes of climate change and an increasingly warming planet. Carbon-neutrality is the state of achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put out into the atmosphere and those removed. The term 'Net-zero' is sometimes used instead of carbon neutrality and they broadly mean the same. Increasingly, countries, companies, and organisations have been committing to achieve carbon-neutrality or net-zero carbon emission through measures such as reforestation and artificial carbon sequestering. But some environmental activists have criticised such offsetting measures as an excuse to continue polluting. If you've been wondering about the benefits of achieving carbon neutrality, there are many such as less pollution, improved air quality, better health and environment, green jobs, reducing the impact of climate change, and a greener planet.

How can it be achieved?

Carbon neutrality can be achieved by reducing the use of fossil fuels and by adopting renewable energy sources, by developing energy-efficient technologies, by adopting massive reforestation or tree-planting measures and by investing in technologies such as carbon sequestration that can remove carbon from the atmosphere. By the way, carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide underground permanently and safely. However, no technology or quantity of trees planted could offset the emissions currently generated globally, unless every country and every household is part of this solution.

Palli's feat

The unassuming village of Palli has made history by becoming India's first carbon-neutral solar village. It has achieved this feat with the installation of a 500-kilowatt solar plant. According to reports, the project was finished in record time (of nearly three weeks) at a cost of Rs. 2.75 crore. Under the central government's 'Gram Urja Swaraj' programme, as many as 1,500 solar panels put up on an area of 6,408 square metres will provide clean electricity to 340 homes in the model panchayat.

The green energy generated will be distributed to the village through the local power grid station, which has a daily requirement of 2,000 units.

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Bhadla Solar Park is the largest solar park in India and in the world. Located in Bhadla, north of Jodhpur, it spans 14,000 acres, with over 10 million solar panels contributing to an operational capacity of 2245MW. The panels are cleaned by robots and monitored by humans. Bhadla is a sandy, arid region described as "almost unlivable" with normal temperatures of 46-48°C, and frequent hot winds and sandstorms. The region receives a good amount of radiation ideal for the generation of solar energy.

The entire project was divided into four phases. In the first phase of the park's establishment, solar panels were established to produce 65 MW of energy in capacities ranging from 5 MW to 25 MW. The following step of the project comprised of commissioning of the second phase of 680 MW. The first two phases of the park were developed by the Rajasthan Solar Power Park Company Limited. Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan developed the third instalment. The project's final stage was designed by Adani renewable energy park for the capacity of 500 MW.

The auction conducted for Bhadla Solar Park recorded the price per unit fall to as low as ?2.62. Surprisingly, the price is lower than National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited's price of ?3.20 per unit. The Indian Express quoted a senior official, "Bhadla Ph-IV Solar Park results in a historic lowering of tariffs. Phelan Energy (50MW) and Avaada Power (100 MW) have bagged projects at Rs 2.62/unit. Softbank Cleantech has won 100 MW capacity at Rs 2.63/unit".
India's has strongly started working in the direction of producing solar energy in recent years. Currently, there are over 30 massive solar projects at various stages in the country. With investments in solar projects, India is consistently working towards reducing its dependence on imported fossil fuels. Moreover, in rural areas, solar-powered lighting is proving much more beneficial than indoor lighting by kerosene. In June 2021, PM Narendra Modi said that India had increased its renewable energy capacity by 250 per cent since 2014. India has one of the fastest-growing populations and economies, which would directly benefit from increased renewable energy resources.

Credit : The logical indian

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Which is the world's largest permanent scale model of the Solar System?

The Sweden Solar System is the world's largest permanent scale model of the Solar System. It is in the scale of 1:20 million and stretches 950 km across the country. The bodies represented include the Sun, the planets (and some of their moons), dwarf planets and other small bodies (comets, asteroids, trans-Neptunians, etc.). The Sun is represented by the Avicii Arena in Stockholm, the largest hemispherical building in the world. The planets, all appropriately scaled, are all around Stockholm and its suburbs.

So far, all eight official planets and dwarf-planet Pluto are in place, at distances from 2.9 km (Mercury) to 300 km (Pluto) from the Globe Northwards. Not limiting themselves to metallic spheres, Jupiter is presently a flower arrangement on a roundabout island outside Arlanda airport; Neptune is an acrylic sphere that shines with the planet’s iconic blue light at night. Comets like Halley and Swift-Tuttle have also been introduced to the system, though South-West of the Globe; foundations have been built for a representation of Termination Shock, the edge of the heliosphere, at the Institute of Space Physics in Kiruna, some 950 km North of the Globe, above the Arctic Circle.

Of course, most tourists do not have the time to fling up and down the coast of the Baltic Sea looking for a lot of small, round things, so it is fortunate that most of this Solar System can be found close to Stockholm.

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Which is the hottest planet?

The farther you get away from the Sun, the cooler you get. So let’s take a look at those planets that sit between Earth and the Sun: Mercury and Venus.

Since Mercury sits closest to the Sun, it must be the hottest planet. Right? That only makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, Mercury receives more sunlight per square foot than any other planet in the solar system. Wrong! Venus is actually the hottest planet in the solar system.

On a hot day on Mercury, the temperature can rise to over 700 ºF. That’s hot! You’d definitely need plenty of sunscreen there. A hot day on Venus, however, is even hotter. How much so? The highest temperatures on Venus exceed 900 ºF. Yikes! Now that’s a scorcher, for sure.

Most friends are probably wondering why Venus is hotter than Mercury. After all, it’s farther away from the Sun. The answer lies in the atmosphere. 

Mercury is small and sits closest to the Sun. It also moves very quickly around the Sun. For these reasons, it doesn’t have an atmosphere. When the Sun’s rays hit Mercury, they just bounce off into space. There’s nothing to reflect them back toward the planet and retain their heat.

Venus, on the other hand, has a very thick atmosphere. Its atmosphere is actually over 90 times denser than Earth’s atmosphere. It’s also made up mostly of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Venus’s atmosphere acts like a one-way door. It lets in solar radiation, but it doesn’t let it back out.

This creates oven-like conditions on the surface of Venus. Because of this intense heat, no water can be found there. Moreover, carbon dioxide is a noxious gas. It creates raging winds that blow constantly across the surface of the planet. This gives it one of the harshest environments you’re likely to find in the entire solar system. Earth and Venus are sometimes called “sister” planets because of their similar sizes. But in most other ways, they couldn’t be more different.

Before scientists could see Venus with the help of unmanned probes and space telescopes, many of them thought Venus was a lush, tropical paradise. The truth is that it’s a barren rock that looks like Earth’s Moon. Its clouds appear yellowish because of the presence of sulfur dioxide alongside the huge amounts of carbon dioxide.

Credit : Wonderopolis 

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