In the era where the use of solar energy is being extensively implemented, Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education in Puducherry has became the first fully solar-powered educational institute in India. Solar energy is the most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity.
According to newspaper reports, the institute generates thrice the electricity it consumes through solar power plants installed on the roofs of the dining room, primary school, library and high school in the campus. Since September 2014, the institute has been self-reliant in energy and produced 15KW initially . Later on, so as to provide energy to its ashram as well, the school expanded its solar panels and today it is fully solar-powered. An additional 30 KW was added in 2015 to power the ashram. School authorities reported that they now save up to Rs 10,000 per month due to the almost-nonexistent electricity and utility costs. Within the next ten years, they hope to recover the investment made on the solar panels (Rs 1 crore).
The school was set up by Mirra Alfasa, called The Mother, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo, in 1943 and got its present name in 1959. The school produces 45 KW energy from its solar power plant, three times its requirement. Almost all the roof tops in the campus have been fitted with numerous solar panels which add power to its grid.
Currently, the entire campus, with the exception of the the ashram’s dining room, are net energy positive, which means they produce two to seven times the electricity they consume. The dining room consumes about 50 per cent of the electricity the campus produces. The school is involved in various social economic issues, with the newest being addressing the energy resource problem in India.