olar panels in India are an increasingly popular renewable energy technology. India, a rapidly growing economy with more than 1 billion people, is facing a huge energy demand. The country stands fifth in the world in the production and consumption of electricity. The electricity production has expanded over the years but we cannot deny the fact that the population of the country is also expanding. The power produced in the country is mostly from coal (53%) and it is predicted that country’s coal reserves won’t last beyond 2040-50. More than 72% population living in villages and half of the villages remain without electricity. It’s high time that our country should concentrate more on energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy. To meet this surging demand, solar energy is the best form of energy to fulfil the energy needs of India and bridge the energy demand-supply gap.
Cuts Electricity Bills
Energy bills have in the past years increased by at least 7% per annum. You can protect yourself from the rising utility bills by incorporating solar panels into your energy mix. This will reduce your electricity bills significantly. So whilst utility costs continue to peak each year, having solar panels can help to reduce the impact. Also, keep in mind that the electricity generated from the solar panels is free.
Earn Money Back
Through Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) you can get paybacks for the electricity you produce. The Feed-In Tariff is an initiative by the UK Government aimed at helping you to become more self-sufficient and sustainable in your use of energy, whilst earning some extra income. The added value of the FiT is that payments are tax-free, index-linked, and have a 20-year guarantee.
Sell Back Electricity
If your system produces more energy than you need, through the generous tariff schemes, you can sell the surplus back to the grid. Thus, apart from cutting down utility bills, your investment in solar panels gives you a warranty for a state-backed income for the next 20 years.
Cuts your Carbon Footprint
Switching to solar energy cuts your carbon footprint, as it is a green, renewable source of energy. Unlike traditional electricity generators, solar power does not release any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) or other pollutants. Estimates also show that solar panels for homes could save around one tonne of CO2 per year, which comes to approximately 25 tonnes over its lifetime.
All-Year Round Efficiency
Solar panels work all year round. Their full potential is released during the sunny months, but they also produce a considerable amount of electricity during the winter, as well as on cloudy days.
No Maintenance Required
Solar panels need almost no maintenance. Once the panels are installed, you need to keep them clean and check whether any trees begin to overshadow the solar PV array. Keeping the installation clean can be even easier when solar panels are installed on the roof are tilted, since rainfall can help clean dust off of the system.
With ground solar panels, maintenance may be more problematic, as the installation can accumulate dust, debris, snow, or bird droppings. Any dirt can be removed from the solar panels with the use of hot water, a brush, and possibly some washing-up liquid.
Independent of Grid
Solar panels are ideal in remote areas where extending power lines to connect with electrical power grid would be too expensive. They are an affordable and effective solution for isolated homes in the rural areas of the country.
There is also the possibility of integrating batteries in solar cell systems, and this can be used as an energy storage. Batteries store energy gathered by solar cells, saving it for rainy days or for use throughout the night. Solar battery storage system costs are not low, ranging typically between £1,200 and £6,000 depending on the size and capacity. However, technological developments are leading to new solutions and will eventually come up with a great solution for solar energy at night.
India has a great potential to generate electricity from solar energy and the Country is on course to emerge as a solar energy hub. The techno-commercial potential of photovoltaics in India is enormous. With GDP growing in excess of 8%, the energy ‘gap’ between supply and demand will only widen. Kamuthi Solar Power Project is the largest single location solar power plant in the world, located at Kamuthi in Tamil Nadu. The Kamuthi solar plant is the world’s second largest solar park with a capacity of 648 MW commissioned by AdaniPower.
The rooftop segment is set to grow at a much faster pace than the market for utility-scale projects with net metering expected to emerge as a major game changer. While utility-scale projects will continue to play an extremely important role in contributing to India’s energy security, the potential of off-grid solar is immense, considering that the 100-GW target for 2022 includes an ambitious 20 GW from off-grid systems alone. This grand target brings a world of opportunities for companies which are focusing on micro-grids and off-grid solar. The private sector is ready to cash in on off-grid opportunities and with the right mix of policy incentives from the government, off-grid solar will thrive in years to come. It will, however, require meticulous planning and commitment to overcome challenges like high capital costs, poor subsidy disbursal, minimal guarantee of returns and operation and maintenance. Once that happens, the 20-GW off-grid target will look distinctly achievable.