Solar power is no longer the "pipe dream of environmentalists," which many have now realized. While there are still 2 billion people in the world without access to electricity (and at least a billion more who have it less than 10 hours/day), there are now 500,000 homes worldwide (mostly in Third World countries) powered by photovoltaics. In developing countries like India, people have started adopting solar power as it has become almost at par and in some cases even cheaper than utility provided electricity.
Benefits of Solar
Below are a few benefits of going solar among others:
- Government Incentives: Various incentive schemes have been provided by both Central and State Governments keeping in mind the benefits of solar energy, wind energy and other sustainable energy projects. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) provides 30% subsidy on Rooftop Solar PV system to its channel partners, reducing the investment to around 70% of the capital cost. Incentives for large scale PV and thermal solar plants set up by 2020 includes 10-year tax holiday, abridged customs duty & no excise duty on specific capital equipment, and critical material, besides loans at extremely low interest rates.
- Secure investment: For large scale solar power plant, Tariff (mainly) decides the profit. In case of India, if the tariff is less than INR 5/unit, it may take at least a decade to recover the investment money. With tariff ranging between INR 5.5-6 per unit, the money will be recovered in roughly 7-8 years after which the plant will start generating profit. Higher Capacity plants yield higher returns (taking other critical factors into consideration such as amount of sunlight, kind of technology used, cost of capital, etc.). Solar Rooftop has been adopted by a number of users for small scale power generation. MNRE provides 30% subsidy. Cost of a typical 1 KW (without battery) varies between INR 65,000-70,000. One can even avail the benefits of Net/Gross metering and get paid for generating extra power their plant generates
- Low cost of maintenance: A Solar Photovoltaic module comes with a warranty of 25 years from the date of supply. As with all electrical and mechanical system, solar PV system also needs regular maintenance. However, due to absence of actual moving parts, the system does not have much wear and tear, but it is advisable to clean the PV panels of dust and bird excreta at regular intervals to maintain its efficiency. The major 2 parts which are required to be replaced periodically are the inverter (comes with a 5-10 year warranty) and batteries (comes with 2-5 years warranty depending on whether they are sealed or lead acid).
Evidently, the use of solar power offers great prospects for protection of natural organic resource and climate, and for the development of renewable energies on the road to a future-oriented energy supply.
So follow the new environmental mantra - Go Solar today for a cleaner tomorrow!