India’s solar superhero

“Do not expect the government to find the solution, find your own solutions,” said the 78-year-old eco warrior from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. 

If eco warriors were to be considered the new superheroes then Dwarkadesh Suresh aka Solar Suresh would be an ideal candidate. With over 50 years of work experience in various industries such as textile, auto ancillary manufacturing, telecommunications, real estate projects, etc., the eco warrior has now moved on to new projects to mitigate global warming.

An IIT-Madras and IIM-Ahmedabad graduate, Suresh, is well-known in the community for his inspiring home in Kilpauk, Chennai. He has designed a sustainable lifestyle for himself starting with the usage of solar panels, then rain water harvesting, biogas, terrace gardens and an air-to-water machine. 

Suresh’s journey with renewable energy started in 2012, when the Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy was announced. The policy’s aim was to generate 1,000 Mw of solar power. 

Initially, he installed solar panels of a kilowatt on his rooftop. “After succeeding with the first installation, I went on adding another two kilowatts. In total, I have installed solar panels of three kilowatts. My entire house is powered with solar, including two air conditioners and other electric appliances,” said Suresh in an interview with Let Me Breathe. 

He noted that solar panels do not need any daily maintenance and have a lifespan of at least 25 years. “It was quite expensive at that time, I had to pay a lot of money through my nose which I didn’t mind doing… Now subsidies and loans by respective states are available if anyone wants to install solar panels at home. You can contact one of the vendors, they will do the site inspection and offer a proposal. Once you accept it, it takes about 10-15 days for them to do the implementation,” he added.

Suresh also throws light on the role of an individual in fighting climate change. “Today technology is available, not at all costly, they are all economically feasible, extremely simple, no rocket science. If I can do it, anybody else can do it,” he said.

Suresh has several interesting projects going on. “Now I am working with an engineering college. I am in the process of developing a solar electrical scooter. The battery of this scooter will be charged by solar panels. They will not be plugged into the grid current. Hopefully, it will be finished in the course of next two months,” he said while discussing his upcoming projects.

Quoting American president John F. Kennedy, the 78-year-old added, “Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country.” 

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