Steeped in history that extends up to four centuries, this church is now powered by faith and the sun in concert.
St. Thomas Orthodox Church or the Kurishupalli at Puthanangadi, which was built in 1745 and upgraded in 1898, has turned power-neutral with the commissioning of a 30 kW power plant on its roof. The on-grid power system comprising 88 PV panels, installed at a cost of ₹18 lakh, has a capacity to generate up to 110 units of power as against its daily average consumption of 82 units.
The transition to solar energy also makes the church the first in the region to adopt a renewable energy source. According to the church authorities, the plant will cater to the power needs of the church, its office, a hospital, and manufacturing units associated with it.
The authorities regard the new initiative as a natural outgrowth of the values nurtured by the church, which see the nature as sacred. “This is a great step towards environmental stewardship, which also sends out a message that the switch to renewable energy starts with our communities. It makes good sense not only environmentally but economically as well,” said Mathew Maliyekkal, trustee of the church. The electricity bills are expected to come down drastically.
The idea of putting the large roof of the church to good use by installing solar panels came up about six months ago in the wake of mounting power bills. An energy consultant was engaged and based on a feasibility study, a decision was made on the installation of the power plant.
“Once the decision was made, the installation was done in record time and the plant could be made operational in six months,” Mr. Maliyekkal added.