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RENEWABLE ENERGY ENERGETICA INDIA From Energetica India’s Blog Stable; Nov/Dec 2015 Energetica India brings forward the work of bloggers and contributors associated with Energetica India. The article collates thoughts/ideas/concepts based on the writers’ industry experience. MR. PRABHU DEODHAR CHIEF INNOVATOR AND FOUNDER AT MITRAMAX ENERGY PRIVATE LIMITED PV Solar Energy to Empower the Dark India. Where should our investments go? What should be our priority? India is a ‘dark home’ to 25-30% of our population; the people who are left out of the mainstream because they have no access to electrical power. Even after 68 years of independence, 350-400 million of our people continue to live in darkness. Now, these woes of darkness can be banished into oblivion with the emergent Photo Voltaic Solar technology. It will allow us to empower them speedily by brightening their life with electric light. Solar energy is nature’s gift to mankind and Photo Voltaic (PV) technology allows us to convert it directly into DC electrical energy. With the omnipresent nature of the sun, one can harvest electrical energy at any place even in the remotest parts of our hinterlands. I feel this is a golden prospect for us to electrify ‘Dark India’. Evidence suggests that there is a sharp socio-economic improvement when we light up the homes in ‘Dark India’. With a couple of bright LED lights, solar powered from a PV module on the roof, their life undergoes a dramatic change at the click of a switch. It has been proven by thousands of such systems installed by many NGOs. It is found that each family saves money with which they buy kerosene; saving about Rs.150 per household every month! This would also reduce huge foreign exchange outflow for the country. In Sri Lanka, reducing kerosene import is the national focus of their solar mission. Also noteworthy is the fact that it adds four extra hours of work output for the entire family, thereby improving rural productivity and increasing family income. Home Solar Systems: Each family needs one bright light in a room and another portable bright light that can be used outside the house for productivity. The minimum standard should be two or three of bright lights such as from 7W LED bulbs that gives about the same light output as a 60W filament bulb. One of these could be portable to venture out at night. Providing them cheap Chinese lanterns is a cruel joke. A 25Wp solar panel and 12V/12AH battery will allow family to use all lights for 6/7 hours. In bulk such a system can be sold for less than Rs.4000. The unit must primarily be very rugged and yet simple to use. A 12V DC system instead of 230V AC line power would make it safe for the young ones in their small huts. Experience shows that well lighted home after sunset makes their abode healthier and safer to live in. I have seen ladies shyly smiling in every house that I have lighted up. Life of these women becomes easier since their brightly lit homes make their family life safe and secure. I have witnessed these dramatic changes in several hundred huts. All these benefits are well-established by various NGOs as well as by my own field experiments. Some social groups have made it their mission and have won International Awards. All these findings show a variety of striking benefits for these rural folk. Many hardships and accidents can be prevented. The children can easily complete their homework and go to school in readiness the next day. They can read stories and learn about the world. And the man of the house, if an artisan, can work several extra hours and earn more. The village grocer makes more money by keeping his outlet open till late. All can charge cell phones for free. In fact, with a little extra investment, one can get an AMFM radio or a small DC fan. Community life thus gets enlivened. More importantly, all this can be achieved extremely speedily and at a small fraction of the cost of extending the power-grid to ‘Dark India’. It would be the most rewarding investment for the country; morally, and in economic and cultural terms. Locally owned Green Power Companies: Village and Town based Micro Grid Solar Power companies owned by small business entrepreneur could feed power to its small community. Metered units of power generated could be subsidized or the investment the power plant in terms of its kWp capacity could made available at 3% interest. Low cost international funds could use for the purpose. The life of a well designed PV Solar Plant is 25 years. The amount of annual linear depreciation of investment over the first 10 year period and the interest rate decide the unit cost of solar energy. If the investment cost is 3%, energy cost from such a micro grid would be Rs.7/- or less per kWh. Let me also add that, unlike what is popularly believed, there is no scaling advantage in the cost of a solar plant. For instance, the cost of 100kW plant is about 100 times that of a 1kW plant and a 10MW plant costs about 100 times the 100kW plant. Having many 10 to 100kW PV Solar Plants working as village or town Micro Grids 50 energetica INDIA · NOV | DEC15


energetica-india-54
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