The environment of the earth is changing rapidly, and the perils of global warming are before us. Solar energy is the only option before us to halt the irreversible climate change. We have to use our natural resources judiciously and wisely for the better future of our coming generations. Shifting from electricity to solar energy is a good step since solar power can significantly reduce electricity bills.
What is solar energy?
The radiation from the Sun is capable of causing chemical reactions, generate heat, and produce electricity. The radiant heat of the sun is processed through upgraded and sustainable technologies to facilitate solar heating, solar architecture, and photovoltaics. It is an essential source of renewable energy.
The total solar energy received by earth is vastly more than our current or future energy needs. Depending on how it is captured, converted, and distributed, solar energy can be classified into active solar or passive solar. In the 21st century, solar energy is increasingly viewed as an attractive source of energy because of its non-polluting character, and inexhaustible supply.
The Government of India has started an ambitious program to use 450 GW of power generated by renewable energy by 2030. It is also implementing a major program for the installation of 15,000 solar pumps to meet the irrigation needs of farmers through clean energy.
100% use of solar energy will increase self-sufficiency, and the youth should come ahead to become entrepreneurs in this field.
The Government has also announced that it will offer production-linked incentives for high-efficiency solar modules with larger panels. It has the potential to generate an annual business of $ 20 billion.
Harness solar energy to Deploy the Power of the Sun
If you want to lower your electricity bills, you can harness the power of the Sun. The benefits of using solar energy are environmental sustainability, financial savings, and a 'green reputation'. Here we will describe how to harness solar energy to lower the energy bills and also to make money in the process.
1. Solar panels
You may have seen solar panels on electronic road signs on highways, on houses, or parking lots. These are a great way to power homes and other devices, and they are made up of a group of photovoltaic cells. Most people can afford a solitary solar panel.
An entire roof made of solar tiles. People who have solar panels on their houses, have to purchase less electricity from power companies. If you can install enough solar panels, the consumer might have more electricity than he needs! Bifacial modules are also available, which produce power from both sides of the solar panel, and, so, are more efficient.
An intelligent device can be attached, which tracks the sun's movements across the skies, to maximise the panel's exposure to sunlight. It can produce about 40% more energy than a similar capacity, fixed, solar panel system.
2. Community Solar
Many people think that they do not have the budget or the space to invest in a series of solar panels. Also called a solar garden, community solar is a solar power plant whose electricity is shared by many companies, households, or institutions. This renewable-energy plant offers the benefits of 'clean energy' to multiple businesses, without them having to install a single solar panel individually.
Community solar systems are large batches of solar panels located on jointly owned private property or public property. They are shared by the subscribers who receive a subsidy on their electricity bills on their share of the power that is produced.
Community solar has different models with their own rules, to cater to various kinds of businesses. Some of these are described below:
- On-bill crediting model-Businesses and residents can invest in portions of a local solar facility, and receive credit on their electricity bills for the power produced.
- Utility sponsored model- In this model, the utility companies give customers an option to purchase energy from a shared facility. These companies own the energy and lease or sell them to the consumers, who then purchase electricity at a fixed rate for a certain period.
- Special Purpose Entity (SPE) model: The SPE model allows individual companies or customers to enter into a business project to develop a community solar facility. Under this model, the partners create their solar installation, and then work with an electricity company, to avail of this service to subscribers.
If you invest in a community solar project, it will help businesses adhere to their sustainability goals also.
3. Tubular skylights
They comprise a refractive light collector which is installed on the roof of a house or office, that passes the light to a reflective tube. This, in turn, passes it to a diffuser that can light up a room. The entire set-up is based on the principles of optics, and it functions as an energy-efficient light bulb.
This contraption can be used to heat the entire house, or a single room; this depends on the total number and size of the tubes.
4. Thermal Storage Tubes
These are cylinders made of fiber-glass and are filled with water. You can install them in greenhouses, and place them in an area where there is maximum sunlight. They absorb solar energy during the day and diffuses it at night-time.
5. Photo-Voltaic (PV) modules
These convert sunlight into electricity and are often seen in solar calculators and watches. These are panels made of special photo-sensitive materials, that when exposed to sunlight, use light and heat to free the electrons and create an electric current. This process is called the photovoltaic effect.
- Thin Film Solar Cells (TFSC) can be installed as laminates on virtually any surface; they are only a few millimetres thick! They range from shingles and roof-tiles to an entire facade of a building and can produce electricity.
- An installation comprises arrays of PV cells on the side receiving maximum sunlight and attached with a tracking device that turns them for maximum efficiency.
- They have an efficiency of around 15% and can produce commercial renewable energy, throughout the year.
6. Solar Water Heater
A solar water heater is a very efficient solar-powered device that produces hot water just at the click of a switch. It is made up of rectangular chambers with numerous small tubes called flat plate collectors. Inside them, any fluid, like water, circulates.
7. Solar Thermal Power Plants
Picking the right solar power solution can reduce the cost of your energy bills by 30-50 percent. These plants utilise heat from the Sun to produce steam. This thermal energy can then be used to produce electricity, which can then be used to heat water in office buildings, or homes.
Automobiles, houses, industries, and offices require energy to function. Solar energy is one of the options when it comes to renewable energy. Besides, there are many rebate programs and tax incentives, designed to save home-owners money, and encourage the use of solar energy, simultaneously.
Solar power in India is a very dynamic business opportunity and offers the scope of earning good money. Given below are some solar energy business ideas:
1. Sell Products
Billions of dollars worth of solar attic fans, solar cooling systems, solar PV, and solar thermal systems are sold every year. So, the potential market is huge.
2. Be a distributor
As more and more manufacturers come into the picture, there would be a need to distribute the products to remote corners of the country. Therefore, the role of a distributor becomes very important. You can aggressively market these in-demand products like solar panels, and reach out to the last mile consumer.
3. Sell spare parts
Lots of parts are required to build and operate solar installations. Solar business can build long-term customer relations, and there is a huge demand for spare parts and after-sales service. Some gadgets can increase the productivity of solar power generators, reduce their maintenance, etc. that can be sold to old customers.
4. Solar energy powered cars
If you want to start a business that can guarantee you a steady income soon, then a great idea would be to produce solar-powered vehicles. Most countries phase out old diesel or petrol run vehicles.
5. Solar panel production
The electrical energy produced by solar panels can be stored for later use, so these are gaining a huge market share. You should manufacture them with different capacities, shapes, and sizes, to meet the requirements of all customers.
6. Invent solar products
You can develop new solar products like solar for RV vehicles and boats, or solar-powered eco-friendly buildings. These can be a niche market, and turn into a successful business. You can also produce instructional videos on solar products.
We must harness solar energy to produce more power, and make India self-sufficient in energy. So, it is a viable option for new entrepreneurs to invest in.
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4) Solar Energy Startups in India: Looking at a Shining Future!