A graduate from IIT-Madras and IIM-Ahmedabad, Mr Suresh vouches for the fact that homes can be powered through a completely non-polluting and sustainable way using solar power. During one of his visits to Germany, he realised that when a country with hardly any sunlight can have a solar panel installed in every house and office, then why not India, which enjoys sunlight almost through the year.
Taking ‘practice before you preach’ motto seriously, Mr Suresh has implemented all green aspects in his house. School and college students take a tour of his house every day and learn about easy and efficient methods to save energy.
His philosophy, he said, is, “Do not expect the government to come up with solutions for you, assist the government in finding solutions.”
He hopes to take solar message to every house in the country. “Solar is ideal for rural people where there is no electricity. With two lights and two fans for Rs 20-25,000, their whole lifestyle changes. Even during the evenings, they can work and study,” said Mr Suresh.
One of the major hurdles he faced was finding a suitable rooftop solar plant vendor and a solar inverter. Mr Suresh had installed a 1KW plant in 2012 and in 3 years, he had scaled it to 3KW powering 11 fans, 25 lights, a refrigerator, 2 computers, a water pump, 2 television sets, a mixer-grinder, a washing machine and an inverter AC.
Mr Suresh’s house has not seen any power cuts for 5 years. The house also does not need any LPG connection. The floods in 2015 and cyclone in 2016 could also not turn the power off at his self-sustainable house. “The day we saw a power cut in our locality, I switched on all the lights of my house. Neighbours may envy me, but my intention is to demonstrate that all this is workable, viable and people should be doing this,” he said.
As Chennai faces water shortage, Mr Suresh also does not have to pay thousands of rupees on tankers. Taking a leaf out of his school science textbooks, he has constructed a rainwater harvesting system using layers of pebbles, charcoal and sand. A similar system has also been designed in his house where no manual watering is required and it always stays lush green.
Suresh calls his biogas plant the best waste management system. He collects organic waste and leftover food from his kitchen and neighbourhood households and uses it as raw material for his biogas plant, which cost Rs 40,000 and fuels his cooking needs. This rich manure helps him grow tomatoes, spinach, lemons and ladies’ fingers in his terrace garden.
“Today, you all don’t buy an ordinary TV but only smart TVs which cost Rs 50,000 – Rs 1 lakh. When you make that kind of investment on TV, do you calculate how many movies you see a month? No. You buy it for comfort, convenience and entertainment. Solar is like that. Buy it for comfort.”
Through students’ visits at his home, he wants to inculcate responsibility in them early on and teach them the values of going green, reducing carbon footprints and saving energy for a sustainable future. “Get ‘solarized’ is my only message,” he said.