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India. Sunday was a special day for over 500 residents of Grace Housing society in the Vasant Oscar complex at Mulund as their long cherished dream of having solar power plant finally came true.

Now the society’s sprawling campus, lobbies and parking area will be lit by the solar energy generated during the day by 30 KW panels installed on terraces. The unused electricity for the day will automatically be transferred to the state grid.

The panels are expected to produce 45,000 units of power every year with an expected life span of 25 years. Vicky Pandit, a resident, says, “The panel cost us around Rs 14 lakh after 30 per cent subsidy received from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. And we hope to save Rs 5 lakh per year.”

The Mulund society’s inspiration was two Panvel doctors and Member of Parliament Kirit Somaiya, who were among the first in the state to install solar panels in their homes and connect it with the state grid under the Rooftop solar power policy introduced in 2016.

Rooftop solar power is increasingly become popular. More than 2,000 houses in the state are now connected to the state grid. “It helps cut the power bill, and initial cost can be recovered within five years. I consider it my contribution to nature by reducing the carbon footprint,” says paediatrician Dr Prashant Gaikwad from new Panvel, who installed 6 KW panel of Rs 3 lakh at his bungalow a year ago. His home generated 10 units a day of which only 7 units were consumed.

Over 195 industries, a sports complex in Navi Mumbai, 10 educational institutes in eastern suburbs and Municipal corporation of Thane have also joined the solar bandwagon recently.