Power from above: Mosque in Mumbai to slash bill by Rs 30K

The seventh mosque in Mumbai to make the switch, the mosque recently installed a 25-kilowatt power (kWp) solar plant at a cost of Rs 14 lakh.

Mumbai : 15 Oct, 2018 (Hindustan Times)

Taqwa Masjid in Byculla (HT PHOTO)

Taqwa Masjid in Byculla has joined the growing list of religious institutions in the city to switch to solar power for electricity generation. The seventh mosque in Mumbai to make the switch, the mosque recently installed a 25-kilowatt power (kWp) solar plant at a cost of Rs 14 lakh.

The switch was made as a long-term solution to the hike in electricity bills owing to an increase in the number of electronic appliances used in the premises. Taqwa Masjid’s solar plant will generate 95.8 units daily and 35,000 units annually. Comprising of 72 panels, electricity is generated from a single inverter.

Muhammad Sohail Shaikh, chief operating officer (COO) of MSS Greentech, which set up the plant at the mosque, said, “Mosques that operate on a larger scale can afford to switch to solar power plants. For a small mosque like the Taqwa Masjid, the trustees have done a great job.”

According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), a 25-kWp system mitigates carbon dioxide emissions by 769 tonnes over 10 years, which is equivalent to planting 1,230 full-grown teak trees.

The mosque is running 90% on solar energy, which comprises 25 kWp out of 28 kWp every day and aims to reduce the electricity bill from Rs 33,000 to Rs 3,000 every month. “We will receive free electricity for 20 years once we recover the cost by 2021-22, which will help us save money in the long run,” said Imran Sahab Taqwa, trustee, Taqwa Masjid.

Any amount of electricity produced by Taqwa Masjid in excess will be sent back to the local power gird and the units will be credited, since it’s a net-metred project set up by MSS Green Tech.

Ajay Marathe, 61, environmentalist, said, “Any other power generation, apart from solar energy, requires burning and releasing of gases such as carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, nuclear energy has safety concerns. Solar power plants doesn’t require anything, as it is an independent source of energy.”

Minara Masjid at Mohammed Ali Road was the first mosque in Mumbai to go solar, followed by Zakaria Masjid in Masjid Bunder, Jama Masjid in Kalbadevi, Madarsa-e-Mohammadiya in Agripada, Hakim Dayam Masjid near JJ Hospital, and Jama Masjid in Bandra.

“After a lot of struggle and putting religious figures in the limelight, the concept of going solar has now been accepted by the entire Muslim community. Many other mosques are also installing solar plants,” said Shaikh


Warning: Climate change has come home

As IPCC Weighs Implications Of Temperature Rise For The Planet, TOI Looks At Impact Of Warming On Mumbai & Maharashtra

Mumbai: 9 Oct, 2018 (Times of India)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report, released on Monday, suggests that a 1.5 Celsius degree rise in global average temperature could have a huge impact in developing countries in the form of heatwaves, floods, droughts and water scarcity. Although the IPCC report does not make city-specific projections, TOI rounds up what we know so far about climate trends in Mumbai and Maharashtra.

The latest IPCC report’s findings suggest that coastal megacities such as Mumbai are particularly vulnerable to the impact of global warming, thanks to a combination of large populations, urbanization and increasingly extreme weather. Here’s what Mumbai’s weathervane shows.

Extreme rainfall

This year’s monsoon saw extremely heavy rain for a few days in June and July followed by a long dry spell. This pattern is increasingly becoming the norm, says K S Hosalikar, India Meteorological Department’s deputy director-general (western region). “We used to witness widespread monsoon through the four monsoon months. But now we are seeing rainfall in June-July and then there is nothing,” he said, adding, “So, this clearly shows a rise in severe weather, which is the early signature of global warming.”

Global warming, though, is not the only factor at play in extreme rainfall trends. Studies by IIT Bombay professor Subimal Ghosh have shown that a combination of urbanization and increased moisture from Arabian Sea has led to a rise in extreme rainfall over Mumbai. Increased moisture coming in from the Arabian Sea is due to the warming of the water, says Ghosh. However, higher temperatures due to urbanization —a phenomenon called urban heat islands—also contributes to heavy rainfall, he adds. Warmer temperatures can increase precipitation as well as atmospheric instability.

Vertical temperature

With each passing year, the city has been setting new records for maximim temperatures. IMD’s Hosalikar says the number of warm days and nights are rising in Mumbai not just due to climatic changes but industrialization and urbanization. “This includes a lot of infrastructure development and reduction of the green component,” said Hosalikar. “We need to find a balance between infrastructural development and maintaining the eco-system.”

Erratic drinking water

Mumbai has been lucky as far as potable water is concerned, drawing on far-flung reservoirs devoted to the city. But water cuts like the ones imposed in 2009 and 2015, when rains were deficient, might become an increasing problem. It’s Marathwada, though, which has been experiencing excruciating water scarcity. IMD data shows that drought has struck this region at least 25 times in the past century, says Hosilkar. Experts say few things have changed in the past decades. “Freshwater resources are not getting recharged to the extent they were being recharged 50 years ago, due to increasing urbanization and deforestation,” said Kapil Gupta, professor of civil engineering, IIT Bombay.

Sea levels climb

Net sea level rise along Mumbai's coast is 1.2mm a year, according to a 2014 TERI study, in line with national trends. However, a 2015 study led by National Institute of Oceanography suggests sea level rise along India’s coast may have accelerated in the past two decades. The NIO study found the average sea level in India rose 3.2mm a year between 1993 and 2012 compared with an increase of 1.3mm annually, based on tide gauge data during much of the 20th century. The study noted that it is unclear whether the quickening rise is due to natural variation or global warming. Rising sea levels combined with extreme rainfall could lead to more flooding, say experts.

Health alarm

Experts say a correlation between climate change and changing patterns of vector-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and chikungunya can no longer to overlooked. “Climate change and rainfall, followed by dry spells and rainfall again ...we believe all these cycles have a connection with breeding and disease burden in population but we still don't understand the direct correlation,” says Dr Neeraj Dhingra, assistant director (malaria) at Directorate of Vector-Borne Disease, New Delhi.

As decades of public health intervention have begun to control malaria across India, including in Mumbai, dengue has risen in the past 10 years. Dengue has seen a nearly 15-20% annual increase across the country. The construction boom is also a major factor in the rise in dengue, says epidemiologist Dr Mahendra Jagtap. In several parts of the country, chikungunya, too, has begun to reemerge. The state has started a pilot study to understand disease vectors and their interactions with climate in Nagpur and Pune.

Action stations

Some Indian cities are beginning to take action on the changing climate, says Suruchi Bhadwal, a senior fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), pointing to examples of policies based on past experiences of heat wave conditions. “But while there is action, there is a need for scaling it up or replicating it in other cities,” said Bhadwal. “We don’t have systems where we are clearly mentioning how are things getting done, which should be a transparent process and open to every citizen to see.”

(Inputs by Richa Pinto, Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar and Sumitra Deb Roy)