BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) flipped the switch on its new solar facility at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Milpitas. The new solar facility will generate over 240,000 kWh of clean energy annually. The solar energy production from the facility will offset majority of the Mandir's energy requirements. The solar arrays will provide clean and reliable power to the Mandir’s prayer rooms, religious assembly halls, classrooms, and other facilities.
A dedication ceremony to commemorate the launch of the solar facility was held at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Milpitas on January 15, 2012. Representatives from the City of Milpitas, including Mayor Jose Esteves, Vice-Mayor Pete McHugh, and Planning Commission Chair Sudhir Mandal attended the dedication ceremony. The City of Milpitas presented a Congratulatory Certificate honoring BAPS’ green initiatives such as this project to harness solar energy. While presenting the certificate, Mayor Esteves stated, “Anything that is finite on this Earth must be preserved, for example, oil, gas, and even water. Solar is something that is relatively infinite. Something we should be tapping, to preserve our finite resources.”
Vice-Mayor McHugh also applauded the environmental efforts of BAPS. “BAPS is doing their part. BAPS is leading by example. BAPS has made [the City of Milpitas] proud,” he commented. Planning Commissioner Mandal added, “I really commend BAPS for doing so much.”
The impact this solar power system will have on the sustenance of our planet certainly cannot be understated. They will collect sunlight and convert it to energy that can then be used for electricity, reducing the need to burn fossil fuels. Developed by Divya Energy, the large solar canopy structure is spread across the temple’s main parking lot and is expected to generate over 240,000 kWh of clean energy annually. The environmental attributes are equivalent to removing over 165 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere or carbon sequestered annually by over 35 acres of pine or fir forests.
The new solar power system not only provides electrical power to the Mandir, but also forwards the mission of BAPS. "It's our collective responsibility to protect the environment,” said Pujya Chaitanyamurti Swami. “Everyone should do their part."
“To see the Mandir going green in such a big way has inspired me to do something similar in my own life,” said Ashish Brahmbhatt, BAPS devotee and volunteer. He explains how he intends to not only take energy conservation more seriously, but also start a compost pile at home. Even children have taken inspiration from the BAPS Mandir and resolved to turn off the lights when leaving the room and shutting the faucet when brushing their teeth.
When one considers the enthusiasm with which BAPS has invested time in environmental programs, it is no wonder that members of the group naturally follow suit. On an international level, BAPS has recycled 10,000 tons of paper and 7 million aluminum cans, planted 1.5 million trees and conducted over 495 rainwater-harvesting projects. It is the collective weight of all of these endeavors that has inspired Ashish Brahmbhatt and many thousands like him. BAPS, through its volunteer efforts, strives to create a better environment by inspiring one individual at a time.