Tree-shaped 12-foot-tall installations fitted with solar power panels and LED lights have been lighting up 10 areas in the city.
The ‘solar trees’ at 10 locations in Shivaji Park, Matunga, Goregaon, Malad and Ghatkopar are a brainchild of a couple, who wants the city to use more renewable sources of energy. Abhijeet and Aditi Sirkar, residents of Juhu, are working with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to achieve this goal by lighting city streets with solar power.
The first solar tree was installed at Shivaji Park in January, last year. The tree’s mast, which costs Rs2.8 lakh, is between 12 and 14 feet tall and has around eight to 13 branches. Each tree has eight panels and eight lights.
Aditi said the installations, called Surya trees, can get the city rid of electricity generation through coal, gas or oil, which releases carbon dioxide in the air. “The masts are the need of the hour for a metropolitan like Mumbai. Aping a tree increases the energy captured per unit of surface area. Solar charging capabilities and Wi-Fi are available at a Surya Tree installation site. Solar power has a huge potential to, to a large extent, meet the city’s electricity requirement. It saves natural resources and pollutes less when compared to conventional sources,” she said.
While listing its advantages, Abhijeet said, “The biggest advantage of using solar power is that it is an inexhaustible source of energy. Once you have installed the system, you don’t have to worry about electricity because the sun is always going to be there.”
He added that a solar tree is economically viable as it does not need much maintenance. They can be spotted at two areas in Shivaji Park, Maheshwari Udyan, Matunga, Dayabhai Patel Chowk, Goregaon, Malad’s Chincholi Phatak, Ruia Gol Park, Saraf Hall and Umapati Pandey Chowk, and at two places in Ghatkopar.
The couple’s firm Apro Green Tech now plans to set up three more trees at Worli, Mahim and Andheri. The municipal corporation is supporting the project by helping them identify locations for the project.
This is not the first eco-friendly step they have taken. In 2013, they made a road using recycled plastic and rubber opposite Kohinoor building in Dadar. “We built this road with the BMC’s help. It is a one-km stretch. There were potholes on this road and we used the recycled matter to fill them up,” said Aditi.
A dry waste recycling facility that the couple set up in 2014 saves 5,000 kg waste from Dadar, Malad and Ghatkopar from going to city dumping grounds. Their firm is also working towards unburdening the city’s landfills by treating solid waste.
“The BMC has given us space, where we recycle waste from three locations in Mumbai — Dadar, Malad and Ghatkopar. Since 2014, we have recycled 7,200 tonnes of waste,” said Aditi.
“The couple’s efforts are commendable as they play a vital role in educating citizens about the need for renewable energy, recycling waste and caring for the environment by beautifying public spaces. The municipal corporation checked the feasibility of each of the initiatives and gave a go-ahead as they are lasting solutions to environmental issues in the city,” said Anand Waghralkar, deputy municipal commissioner, BMC.