The Green Dream

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Last Updated (Monday, 25 January 2021 19:00)

The Green Dream


A Dream That Became a Reality!

With great pleasure we share the news with the YMCA family, that the YMCA of Moratuwa was a carbon-neutral YMCA during 2019. The feat was achieved, mainly through a 12kVA Solar PV system which was installed in July 2018. The total investment for the project was 11790 USD which was partly funded by the APAY.


The overall emissions for 2019 were 4.66 tons while the total offsets were 7.02 tons resulting in a positive carbon offset of 2.36 tons. The figures were obtained using the APAY Carbon Footprint Calculator. In the Year 2019, the system generated a total of 17630 kWh worth 2154 USD.


How It Works
The Solar power systems can be used with or without batteries to store excess energy. Our system does not have storage and the excess energy generated is fed to the electrical grid through an inverter (Although this may not be possible in all countries). Similarly, when the demand exceeds generation, electrical energy is drawn from the grid.


A New Business Model for CBOs
One of the main objectives of the project was to use part of the monthly savings from the solar plant for community outreach programs. For example, the YMCA utilized funds to provide health care for the malnourished children in the community. In the year 2019, medicine and infant food worth more than 1700 USD were issued through the outreach project in addition to the free medical consultations given by board-certified healthcare professionals.


Going green was a bold decision by the YMCA . The challenges we faced were (a) the high initial cost of investment (b) Determining whether the system will properly function throughout the useful life cycle of the solar panels (c) Cost of maintenance needed for the system during the life cycle of the plant.


Lessons Learned
It would be great to see many other YMCAs join us on our journey. The following are some useful tips you may consider if your YMCA would decide to harvest green energy.

1. Prepare a feasibility report.

2. A Solar PV System could be a significantinitial investment. Our simple payback period was 4.7 years.

3. It’s good to have a minimum 10-year warranty for the Inverter and a 20-year warranty for Solar Panels. Fittings and the rooftop panel supporting structures could be a costly replacement in corrosion-prone atmospheres. Therefore, use Aluminium or Stainless Steel.

4. A warranty is no good if your service provider ceases to exist. Choose a company with good credentials.

5. As soon as the system is commissioned, obtain an insurance cover for environmental hazards and other risks.

6. Follow IET electrical installation regulations

7. Install surge arrestors for both the DC and the AC Sides of the inverter.

8. Design the system to export 20% of the energy generated to the grid on a sunny day.

9. Carefully select the utility tariff system.

Our Thanks
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the APAY for providing the initial push by partly funding the project through the APAY Green Fund. We also thank all the member movements who have contributed to the APAY Green Fund.


-Niranga Fernando

General Secretary, YMCA of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka