Updated: Sep 25, 2020
Global warming and shortage of fossil fuel are the two major issues we are facing currently. Reducing the wastage and usage of the energy will definitely help, but to fix the problem, we need to opt-in for the alternate energy sources. To decide whether a person should invest in solar or not, one need to learn or gather enough factual information. Solar energy is the emerging source of non-conventional energy. The main reason behind writing this article is to make you aware about solar energy in aspect of some important statistical data for India. After reading this article, you will have your most doubt clear. So please stick to the article to get the bonus tip to buy solar panel at the end.
Table of contents
Why Solar Power generation?
India’s Solar power potential of 10 major states.
Solar trend from 2010 to 2020.
Total on-grid and off-grid solar energy extractors in India.
Future of Solar energy in India.
Questions / Answers
Major Take away :
Total reserve of coal and other resources to generate electricity is estimated to last about 150 years, if it is consumed at same rate. we are in need to find optional resources to generate electricity.
India has the lowest cost of capital per megawatt worldwide. The installation rate has risen tremendously over the last five years , as a result of which installation costs have decreased by 89% in the last decade and are projected to decrease further by the same rate until 2050!
Why Solar Power generation?
1) There are limited electricity generation sources.
The conventional energy sources are limited. Example of such are Coal and petroleum which has been used as primary sources of energy production.
According to the sources, total coal reserve in the world is about 1.1 trillion tonnes; which can last up to 150 years, if it is being used at same rate as of now. Whereas, The proven oil reserves in the world is about 1.50 trillion barrels oil which can last up to 43 years as of year 2020.
2) The pollution caused due to excessive use of coal and fossil fuels by various power plants have resulted in the increase of global warming issues.
Therefore, we must always look for a potential opportunity to overcome the current issues and find optional sources of energy that could fulfill the future demand of electricity for the next generations by turning towards the use of renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, bio-gas energy etc. But for each renewable source, it requires specific condition to generate these energies.
For example to produce solar energy it requires sunny days, as it is derived from the Sun. if we are planning to install solar energy extractor for your home/small business, you must consider the geographic location of your house. If it is located in south region which could be considered the best location due to its Consistent and decent intensity of the solar radiation availability which is the best choice for the solar extraction. Another example would be wind energy. The factors affect heavily on the wind flow and the large area required to install the windmill. The wind mill are suitable for commercials purposes as in Wind Mill Farms but not for household or domestic purposes due to the noise produced by the turban machinery and space required to install it. In a country like India, the most suitable potential energy is solar energy due to it’s geographic location on the Earth. India has about 300 clear sunny days out of 365 days of a year. India holds 4th position in the world to produce the solar energy due to the geographical location. International contribution in solar energy. As a result India can produce almost 100% energy in about 300 days. Solar panels also produce energy in cloudy days just with less efficiency.
“It is being measured that if we could collect solar energy falling on the earth for an hour, then we can produce enough energy to meet the requirement of the entire Earth. 430 Quintilian joules of energy falls on Earth each hour.”
India’s Solar power potential of 10 major states
The potential energy can be calculated by considering fact that, in any part of India, 4 to 7 Kw h of solar energy is being received per square meter. The chart above shows us the total potential for solar energy in particular state in blue, where the yellow bar shows the existed installed solar panels as of march 2020. sum of all ten states solar power potential is about 560.7 MW (mega watt). In reality these states have only installed 24.02 GW of energy; Whereas, the total capacity of India's installed solar energy is about 35.12 GW as of June 30,2020. Solar energy is being used at a small scale just about 4.28% of the total potential energy. The highest potential of solar energy can be seen in Rajasthan among all ten states whereas Jammu-Kashmir stands second in this list. Gujarat in this case comes at 6th rank in the list of highest potential solar energy states with a capacity of about 35.77 GW out of which 2.9 GW has been extracted. Karnataka stands out as highest solar energy extractor in the country.
Solar trend from 2010 to 2020
The solar projects were announced in India in year 2009-2010. from then till now India has exponentially made a growth in solar power generation installation. The above shown data are taken as a reference from MNRE (ministry of new and renewable energy of India). The data shows the growth of solar equipment installation has been increasing epidemically since year 2010. The bar chart shows the installation capacity each year, which has increased aggressively till 2018 with temporary drop for a year and started gaining the numbers again. The highest installed capacity was in year 2018. it was about 9.4 GW in year 2017-2018. from this data we can predict the future to grow at same rate until 2050. India still has about 96% capacity of solar energy potentially.
Second line chart shows the cumulative solar installation over last ten years. Which gives the glimpse of how future of solar will be.
Total on-grid and off-grid solar energy extractors
1) on-grid power as of march 2020 in India stands at 35.8 GW out of total potential of 748 GW considering 3% loss of area to cover solar PV.
2) The below shown is the pie-chart of total number of solar Equipments registered as of March 31, 2020 it is just the emerging state with such a good numbers which proves that we definitely have a bright future for solar powered Equipments.
Future of Solar energy:
India has the lowest capital cost per megawatt globally. Installation rate has been enormously increasing since past five years as a result the installation cost has decreased by 89% in last decade and further expected to decrease by the same rate until 2050! The government of India has estimated 20 GW capacity till 2022,which is already been achieved in 2018 making us four year ahead of the schedule. This shows us the figure of rate of installation of solar panels. The next target is of 100 GW solar energy till the year 2022 which shows the future of the solar power that will defeat the conventional energy production.
Recognizing the potential of solar energy and the damage we have been doing to the environment, some Indian states has cancelled the plans to build coal fired power plants. And also according to sources, various coal mining projects has been stopped. On top of that, Indian government aims to install 40 GW of rooftop solar panels and electrify 18000 villages. India is expected to expand the growth of it solar market by 90% this year and the central government has already announced incentives to reach their targets.
first question arises after reading the article is that Should you install solar energy?
Yes you should, Below are the reason why you should invest in solar energy,
Solar energy equipments are durable.
It emits very less carbon, which helps reducing the effect of global warming, acid rain and pollution.
It is a one time investment as the maintenance cost required is very low.
The installation Solar energy is quick method.
It Saves a lot of money in long run.
Factors you should consider before you buy a system for your home
The capital investment cost is high, but it will eventually paid off within 7 to 8 years. If you are moving out sooner within a period of five years then you may want to think about it again because ROI is higher (about 8 years).
The efficiency depends on the weather and location, therefore to install the system one must ensure the location. If your location does not have good exposure to sunlight or weather does not provide clear sunny days then you may want to find another solution.
Requires large space to install depends on the energy requirement. Make sure you have enough space to install off-grid solar system / on-grid panels.
The solar panel degrades over the time and can reduce the efficiency of the solar panels. The degradation rate of the panels are 0.8% per year. Over 25 years of periods the average solar panel degradation reaches about 20% of the efficiency achieved when bought.
How many panels are required to power a house depending 100% on solar?
It depends on how much energy do you consume. By taking the example of general electricity usage of an ordinary house or you can consider your house requirement and you can calculate accordingly. Basically a solar panel produces 300 watt an hour. 10 hours daily sunlight can produce 3000 watt an hour i.e. 3 Kw h. Each unit consumed is 1 kw; if you are consuming 15 units means you need to install 15 kw h solar system. If 1 panel produce 3 Kw h then to produce 15 kW h you need 5 solar panels.
What if your system produces more power than you need for your house hold?
What is net metering?
Net metering (also known as net energy metering or NEM) is a solar incentive that allows you to store energy in the electric grid. When your solar panels produce more electricity than needed, that extra energy is sent to the grid in exchange for credits. During night or the other times when the solar panels are under producing, the energy is pulled from the grid and uses these credits to offset the costs of that energy.
How long does it take to install a solar power to your residential place?
It is the quickest energy to install and extract. It can be installed for houses within few hours or latest two days. The documentation work may take longer but installation is pretty straight forward and easy.
Life expectancy of a solar panel
How long does a solar panel lasts?
Generally speaking a solar panel lasts about 25 years on paper, but in reality they last about twice of what they have claimed. That means you can consider them producing power for about 50 years. It’s almost half of our life. But yes you can not get same amount of output after a certain period of time of as compared to the time when you bough it. Considering the degradation rate is about 0.8% with any local brand. If a brand new solar panel produce 100% output then after a period of one year the panel will give 98.2% output.
How much profit can you make by installing solar power generation system?
The definition of ROI (return on investment) is time span required to gain the invested amount back from revenue generated out of installed system. The return on investment period in solar energy based project could be long term, but it gives surety to earn profit about about 250% considering its total life span of 25 years (stated on paper). The ROI in solar panel is ideally estimated about 7 to 8 years in India after considering all the factors such as less effective electricity generation in cloudy days, degradation of solar panel efficiency about 0.8% each year of average type of solar panel and all maintenance cost.
Sooner or later we will all have to opt-in for the optional energy sources as the reserve of coal and petroleum is about to finish and we are facing global crisis of temperature rise due to pollution produced by the power plants by burning coal and fuels. The best solution is to find a best non-conventional source of energy suitable for your location. Solar energy has huge potential for power generation in almost every country. The return on investment period is longer, but has higher reliability and less maintenance which can make it best option for domestic as well as industrial purpose. One must go ahead and install solar power generation system after determining the benefit of it.
TIP if you have made a decision to invest in solar (green) energy.
If you have decided to buy a solar system you must consider consulting few solar companies and take quote of the cost estimate. This would save you about 10% of the total cost.
Also Brand is not always considered as best but instead quality of the product, because branded systems could be expensive, it is not just the quality but also the high advertising fees they pay which reflects in their products prices. So choose the product wisely, don’t only consider the brand.