Bangalore is blessed with over 300 days of sunshine a year. So when we decided to consolidate Swiss Re's two Bangalore offices (Vaswani Centropolis & Torrey Pines), we were looking for a building that would allow us to set up a solar plant on the rooftop. This idea was inspired by our involvement with the RE 100 initiative. As a founding partner of RE100, Swiss Re has committed itself to becoming 100 percent powered by renewable electricity by 2020 – much of it from our own energy production.
With the Fairwinds building in Embassy Golf Links, Corporate Real Estate & Services (CRES) found a facility that fit the bill. It provides us with over 30,000 sq ft (2,800 sq m) of space for a solar power installation on its rooftop. For Swiss Re, the use of solar energy has a dual purpose: for one, it saves costs. Although Swiss Re is a financial services company, our electricity costs are considerable, reaching 230,000 USD every year in Bangalore alone. And secondly, it reduces our carbon footprint. This helps us to set an example for other global firms on how to put in place eco-friendly measures that save money, even in rented office space.
Our new rooftop solar power plant is the size of 10 tennis courts (370 kWp) and comprises 1,058 individual solar panels. It will enable CRES Bangalore, Internal Environmental Management (IEM) and Construction Management to generate a number of benefits for Swiss Re.
- For one, the new installation will produce about 500,000 kWh of electricity per year for Swiss Re's own use. This corresponds to the annual power consumption of 500 local households and translates into savings of INR 4.55 million (approx. USD 70,000) per year. The estimated return on investment (ROI) is about 4 to 4.5 years. It is thus an investment with a long-term stable cash flow.
- In addition, the solar plant would help us reducing the Diesel Generator capacity/load and therefore less diesel consumption. This way we can help to further reduce local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
- In total, CO2 savings from the solar power plant are expected to translate into 550 tons each year.
- During peak loads when air-conditioning is on, the solar power plant produces the most power. It therefore reduces peak load spikes and possibly save more money on expensive peak time tariffs.
- And finally, the solar panels help to cool down the temperature of the space immediately below the roof by 2 to 4 degree Celsius, enabling to bring down the air conditioning load and thereby reducing energy consumption and costs even further.
We should have the plant up and running before end of November 2017. Before, we actually move into the Fairwinds building, we will be using the generated power for construction works.
Category: Sustainable energy: Solar
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India