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Why solar powered homes are the future

Why solar powered homes are the future


In India, electricity is not supplied 24/7. Many states, cities, towns and villages in India suffer from serious power shortage. There are villages in India that hardly get 2-4 hours of power supply in a day. This power shortage creates many hardships for families, students and commercial activities. As a result many alternate sources of energy have been tried out. Governments have been exercised over this problem and have sanctioned different types and methods of power generation. Therefore, we have thermal power, nuclear power, hydroelectric power, wind power and solar power. Governments have the responsibility to provide stable and uninterrupted power like drinking water to its citizens and this is sadly not happening. This has given rise to the citizens opting for alternate means of power generation privately.

Thus you will find many houses have battery operated generator sets and inverters. One school of thought suggests that if we can contain transmission loss then more power can be provided to the citizens but this is easier said than done. Also, the power generated through thermal, hydroelectric and nuclear methods rely on fossil fuels and other fissionary materials that are not inexhaustible and also are environmentally damaging. The alternate to this is to use green energy which can be generated through wind and sun, both of which are inexhaustible and less damaging to the environment. For individual homes solar energy is more practical as wind energy would mean setting up a windmill which would require a lot of space. So let us look at solar power for homes. Here again, it is more suitable for individual houses rather than apartments, especially so if you are located in a power shortage area.

Most apartments, since they are city or town based, may not have a chronic shortage of power. Why should you opt for solar power? You should opt for it for at least two important reasons: 1. Economic saves you money on your power bills and 2. Environmental green energy promotes a healthier environment by reducing carbon footprint Home solar energy photovoltaic (PV) systems have four major components. 1. Solar panels – These absorb the sunlight and convert it to energy. 2. Controller – This regulates the flow of electricity. 3. Batteries Electricity, when in not direct use, is stored in batteries. 4. Inverter This converts the DC power stored in the battery into AC power – the proper voltage for standard power outlets. Installing the solar panels is easier in individual houses rather than in an apartment complex. If it is a single building with ten or lesser number of flats then the panels can be installed on the terrace with a clear procedure on how to share the power thus generated. There are many service providers in the market and you need to select the right one for your requirement.

The solar power generation is optimum when the maximum sunlight is obtained. The panels are always installed in the south direction which optimizes the amount of sunlight. In individual houses most solar panels are installed on the roof top and it is ideal, if the house has a sloping roof. You need to ask these simple questions when shopping for solar panels. 1. How much energy will my solar panels produce? 2. How long will my solar system last? 3. How much will it cost me? 4. Which are the best companies that manufacture solar panels? Based on your energy requirements you would need to order for the solar panels. A small solar system to run three lights, a couple of fans and a TV might cost you around INR 45,000 but a 1KW could cost much higher (probably around INR 1.5 lakhs) but this could power your refrigerator and other electrical appliances. It would make sense to talk to the sales people from the companies marketing the solar power units. Talk to a few of them to get a balanced feedback. How much does it cost? This would depend on what your requirements are but a 1KW system could cost as much as INR 1.3 to 1.8 lakhs.

You could save up to 15 20% on your energy bill and the panels would last up to 25 years. Your batteries would need to be changed and this also depends on your usage. A normal car or truck battery has a life of 3-4 years while deep cycle battery has a life span of almost 15 years. The service provider would be able to provide you the right information. Ideally, you should totally go off grid power and that will save you a lot of money. Besides, with every increase in power tariff you end up shelling out more money for the power used. Going off the grid completely may not always be possible especially when you live in apartment complexes. You could, however, go in for solar power for lights, fans, TV and computers leaving the rest to work on grid power. This will surely bring your power bills down.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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