The Whys and Hows Before Going Solar

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In comparison to the idea of generating energy using solar panels, digging holes in the ground to extract energy seems quite primitive, and needless to say dangerous to the environment. Frankly, we have evolved to a stage where we can maintain synergy between the needs of the environment and that of ourselves. And solar panels can be considered as the best example for this exceptional progress we have achieved. However, change is often hard when our entire life has depended upon a certain perception (read fossil fuel usage). So, if you have found yourself thinking about doing due diligence, let us start by highlighting what there is to know about going solar, before showing thumbs up to green energy.

Not A New Kid On the Block

Solar panels are neither new nor experimental energy harnessing systems. They have been the primary energy harnessing component in space (artificial satellites) since 1950s.

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And in the last 5-7 years, solar panels have received global acceptance in abundance, making it clear that solar energy will power our future. Understanding the progress, India has ramped up its solar capacity from 10 MW in 2010 to almost 9 GW in 2016. And with a projected annual PV demand of 5.8 GW, it is easy to speculate that solar has a bright future in India. Additionally, the Government is announcing incentives on every unit of energy generated from rooftop solar panels to encourage solar power uptake. So, it is smart to go green now. But, there are some basic things that one needs to know before taking the step.

Sizing A Solar System

Whether you need solar for your residence, office, or industry, before buying solar panels you need to understand how much energy you require. Check the connected load of your current setup to understand how much energy you consume. Generally, solar panels come in 36 and 72 Solar Cells and they produce around 12 to 24 volts of electricity. So, essentially your 2/3 BHK household would need about 15,000 Watts of energy a day (including the use of an electric oven). So, consider your consumption levels, power backups, roof size, your last month’s electricity bill, and daily power cuts to initiate an energy audit before designing the blue print of your green energy supply system.

Cost of Going Green

PV modules cost between INR 30 and INR 40 per watt of power generated. However, take note that inverter and batteries will cost you extra. Generally, a 5 kW system for a residential setup would cost around INR 3 lakhs. A considerable amount for many, but fortunately, to reach the ambitious target to 40 GW by 2022, the Government is offering 30 per cent subsidy on rooftop solar plant installations. Also public Sector Banks such as- Bank of India, State Bank of India, Syndicate Bank, Punjab National Bank, Dena Bank, Central Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, etc. are offering easy financing choices under ‘home improvement loan’ to install grid interactive rooftop solar.

Consider The Strength of Your Roof

You need to check your roof to make sure that it is capable of supporting solar panel installation and it is not covered in shade. If you live in a multi-unit building, you can still go for community shared rooftop solar. That would require you to share your thoughts on going green with your neighbours. But, judging by the rate of global acceptance for solar, it would not take much effort. However, if your roof has the structural capability to support panels (panels weigh 15 kgs per sq. meter), and has un-interrupted access to sun light, you can call professionals to install the panels. And remember, ideal orientation for solar panels to collect maximum sun light is towards south.

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Focus On Warranties and Maintenance

Buying modules from trusted solar companies can get you up to 25 years of warranty on the product. It is important that your solar panel seller offers you operation and maintenance facilities as well. So, start researching and do not shy away from making a few calls before settling with a solar panel seller.

So, an informed step is all that is required to be able to get the best out of the sun’s immense energy, for powering our essential day to day requirements.  Some good research and finding the right professionals, can be the simple way to become a part of the global energy revolution.

Bibliography:

Greentech Media: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/what-customers-need-to-know-before-going-solar

Live Mint: http://www.livemint.com/Money/RBdquY1XECHfxeCD5XnfTP/What-you-should-know-before-going-solar.html

City Lab: http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2016/04/want-solar-panels-on-your-roof-heres-what-you-need-to-know/476805/

Bijli Bachao: https://www.bijlibachao.com/solar/roof-top-solar-pv-system-project-for-home-and-office.html

Saur Energy: http://www.saurenergy.com/articles/things-to-consider-before-going-solar

MNRE: http://mnre.gov.in/file-manager/UserFiles/Press-Release-Grid-Interactive-Solar-Rooftop.pdf

Economic Times: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/indias-installed-solar-capacity-reached-6000-mw-in-6-years-manufacturer/articleshow/52447396.cms

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