Affordable and Reliable Solar Solutions for India’s Middle Class

There is a very popular perception that solar power is costly, and it is only for the elite, who can afford it and can only be used for backup, our previous article myths about solar power analyses these myths in detail

There are several solar solutions available in market today, which are both affordable and reliable, below are a few affordable and utility solar solutions for everyone

Solar Lanterns

Solar Lanterns are very affordable and robust, they are a good alternative toPortable Solar Lantern
traditional lanterns, they come in all sizes and shapes, you can buy a solar lantern from Amazon starting from ₹1,200.

Some of the expensive models include a mobile charger these are usually in the range Camping Solar Lanternof ₹2,000 to ₹2,500, these are a perfect solution residential customers for backup power source during power cuts, and
a lighting source for street vendors, road side food carts and stalls

Solar Lanterns replaces dirty and expensive fuel-based lighting sources and provides up to 12 hours of light when fully charged, making them perfect partner for outdoor activities, home décor and emergency preparedness. They function both as a task lamp and a lantern

Applications:

  • Outdoor living and activities (camping, hiking, hunting, fishing,backyards, parties)
  • Emergency situations (roadside assistance, blackouts, flood and disaster rescue)

Solar Home Lighting Systems

Solar Home Lighting SystemSolar Home Lighting Systems are little bit more expensive they usually cost in the range of ₹5,000 to ₹10,000, depending on the wattage(size) and capacity(storage) of these systems, they can light up one or more rooms, they can run a small DC fan for few hours,all of them come with a mobile charger,

Some of these home lighting systems have 12V output with laptop adapters, you could charge your laptop directly via DC current, this is a perfect solution for middle class families and small businesses

Applications

  • Back up lighting source for residential customers and small businesses

Solar Water Heaters

Solar Water Heater is a simple, reliable, and cost-effective technology that SolarWaterHeater
harnesses the sun’s energy to provide for the hot water needs of homes and businesses. Installing a solar water heating system is one of the single greatest energy-saving improvements a homeowner can make.

Solar water heaters collects heat from the sun and use it to heat up water which is stored in a hot water cylinder. A boiler or immersion heater can be used as a back up to heat the water further to reach the temperature you want.

Medium sized family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 kids usually require solar water heater of size 100LPD (Liters per day). It costs around ₹14,000

Applications

  • Water heating solutions for homes and businesses
  • Water heating for solutions pools

Small Rooftop Solar Power Plants

Rooftop solar plants have become very popular in rural India in recent years due Rooftop-Solar-Plantto heavy power cuts, they are more expensive compared to other solar solutions, but they are most convenient and reliable

With drastic decrease in solar panel and storage costs, Solar power has become a very reliable source of power, it is possible to live off-the grid with Solar power if you are in a rural area with out any electricity

Rooftop Solar InstallationYou could run heavy AC loads such as AC’s, 5 HP motors on solar power today, many solar inverters available today have intelligence built into them, they can power your home on solar energy when sun is available and switch back to grid power during evening and night times, now power cuts are a thing of the past, thanks to solar power and storage technologies.

Small Roof-top solar plant(200W) costs about ₹30,000.00, you could run ceiling fan(s), tube light(s),  TV or an Air Cooler for 6 to 8 hours, It offers a perfect back up solution for rural customers, who experience 18 hour power cuts

Thinking about going solar? use our solar plant configurator, to configure your solar plant size and capacity based on your usage

Applications

  • Backup power solutions for homes and businesses

Solar Water Pumps

Solar Water Pump is a perfect compact solution for pumping water from the solar_water_pump_systemborewell, openwell, lake, river or stream to the ground level. The pumped water can be used right away or stored in remote locations.

Excess water can be stored in a tank which can drain it out whenever there are shortages due to either cloudy weather or water disruptions.

aerator machines in aqua farming powered by solar pumping systemThe solar PV modules generate DC electricity which is fed into a pump through a controller. Solar water pumping system offers very high reliability, minimum maintenance and a long service life.

This is a perfect solution for farmers who rely on diesel generators to power their water pumps as this solution generates electricity at fraction of diesel generated power

It costs about ₹1,00,000 to install a solar pumping solution to power a 1 hp motor

Applications

  • Irrigation and water pumping solutions for Farmers
  • Powering areator machines in Aqua farming

Subsidies

NABARD offers 40% subsidy for following solar products

  • Solar Lanterns
  • Solar Home Lighting Systems
  • Solar Water Heaters
  • Solar Rooftop Plants
  • Solar Water Pumps

Read about our article about How to get NABARD subsidy for various solar applications. It offers practical solutions to issues related to getting NABARD subsidy

 

Myths about Solar Power in Indian Market

There are several apprehensions about Solar power in the market today, Lets examine these apprehensions in detail to find out if they are really true

Solar Power does not Work

It is true that many customers have had a bad experience with solar in the past due to scam artists trying to make a quick profit on Solar craze couple of years ago, cheap imported solar panels were sold for unrealistic prices and they stopped working after an year or two, this has really left a bad taste for many customers

It is important to check for warranty period offered by manufacturers of various components of a solar plant, not just solar panels, Insist on getting only components from MNRE approved manufacturers as these components are tested and certified by MNRE

Solar Power is costly

While this is partly true, there is a good reason for this perception, majority of the small and medium sized solar plants in India are off-grid, which requires  storage(battery) of generated electricity before it can be consumed, storage usually adds up-to 40% of solar plant cost, when you combine solar generation and storage costs, Solar power becomes an expensive proposition

Solar power has reached grid parity(is equal to or less than grid supplied power) in India, As of today Solar Power can be generated at ₹6.5/Unit(kWh) by any one even from a small 100W Solar Plant

As explained earlier when a storage solution is added to solar plant, cost increases by 40%, Combined with a storage solution, anyone can generate solar power at ₹9.5/Unit(kWh) today

While ₹9.5 per Unit(kWh) is expensive for several customers, it is a cheap and reliable alternative for customers who depend on a diesel generator for back-up, it usually costs ₹21 to generate 1 Unit(kWh) of power from a diesel generator(DG)

It does not mean that Solar power is off limit for India’s masses, there are several solar solutions available in market today which are cheaper than traditional alternatives such as kerosene lamps/lanterns or candles as a backup lighting source during power cuts

Solar Lanterns are very affordable and robust, they are a good and cheap alternative to traditional lanterns, they come in all sizes and shapes, you can buy a solar lantern from us starting at ₹1,200. Some of the expensive models include a mobile charger these are usually in the range of ₹2,000 to ₹2,500, these are a perfect solution residential customers for backup power source during power cuts, and as a lighting source for street vendors, road side food carts and stalls

Solar Home Lighting Systems are little bit more expensive they usually cost in the range of ₹5,000 to ₹10,000, depending on the wattage(size) and capacity(storage) of these systems, they can light up one or more rooms, they can run a small DC fan for few hours, all of them come with a mobile charger, Some of them have 12V output with laptop adapters, you could charge your laptop directly via DC current, this is a perfect solution for middle class families and small businesses

NABARD offers up-to 40% subsidy on both Solar Lanterns and Solar Home Lighting Systems

Solar Power is not Reliable

This is no longer true, with drastic decrease in solar panel and storage costs, Solar power has become a very reliable source of power, it is possible to live off-the grid with Solar power if you are in a rural area with out any electricity

You could run heavy AC loads such as AC’s, 5 HP motors on solar power today, many solar inverters available today have intelligence built into them, they can power your home on solar energy when sun is available and switch back to grid power during evening and night times, now power cuts are a thing of the past, thanks to solar power and storage technologies.

You can live off the grid and only use grid as a backup solution, in a few years grid will become irrelevant, unless utility companies change their business models, they will have to eventually transform themselves into distributed power collection system/network

Solar power can’t be added to UPS

There are several solutions available in market today which enable you to integrate your existing UPS and battery bank to a solar plant, Solar charge converter is a brand new technology based on intelligent microprocessor control and Digital Signal Processing(DSP)

Solar converter ensures that your batteries are always charged with power generated by solar panels with out consuming power from the grid.

As power generated by solar panels is fluctuating, Solar converter adjusts the AC grid consumption, and there by consuming solar generated power completely and minimizing grid power usage.

If you have an existing UPS system or an inverter with battery bank, you can easily attach rooftop solar system to your existing setup using a Solar converter

Other Concerns

If you have any other concerns/issues with solar power, please let us know, we will add additional sections to this article addressing those concerns/issues

As always your feedback will be appreciated, please feel free to add comments and share your thoughts