Solar energy is an often underestimated but abundantly available clean and renewable energy source for 1.4 billion people of India. India is one of the blessed countries where solar irradiations are much more than in other parts of the world.
The good news is that going for solar energy in India does not require heavy investment. Therefore, a simple house owner can take advantage of this type of energy with a small investment.
To harness solar energy in India, one must understand how solar power can be converted into usable electricity at home. Look at the above Figure; the solar panels are the large blue colored shiny tiles that collect the solar power and produce a direct current (DC). A typical solar panel can produce DC power for 100W to 300W at the DC voltage of 15-40V.
We can use a single solar panel at home to generate electricity. However, for generating more power, we may use many solar panels in the series to make a solar string.
The solar strings can further have connections in the parallel/series combinations to form a large solar power source.
Solar Energy- Charge Controller
The charge controller is the device that collects the maximum possible solar power and either charge a DC battery or power the DC-powered devices (DC lights, fans, refrigerator). The charge controller also ensures the maximum possible energy extraction from the sun’s rays. This process is called maximum power point tracking (MPPT).
Since our conventional household devices in India use alternating current (AC) 220V/50Hz, we need a solar inverter that converts the DC to AC. This AC power is suitable for powering the power appliances like AC-powered lights, fans, TV, Computer, etc.
Benefits of solar energy
Solar energy investment provides immediate return starting right from the first month. After installing the solar energy system, the user will notice a significant drop in electricity bills. The user is no longer dependent on the national grid for electricity. He/she can even enjoy uninterrupted and free electricity even during the load shedding by the electricity company.
Another advantage of solar power is being a clean and renewable energy source. This means that the user contributes his part in making the world a pollution-free and clean place.
The solar power system can provide energy consumption and supply data to the user. We can effectively analyze these data for optimization of energy usage further.
Disadvantages and Health risks of Solar Energy
Solar energy systems is the most advantageous and safest energy harvesting systems worldwide. However, people often argue that if solar energy is cheap and abundantly available, there must be some disadvantages or some health risks.
As described above, the solar energy system components comprise various electronic converters and batteries. These components are very safe and do not emit radiation or electromagnetic fields hazardous to human health.
A conventional household in India has a load of about 2kW. Therefore, a 2kW solar energy system would be enough. This 2kW system can power eight LED light bulbs, three Fans, one refrigerator, and one computer in terms of residential load.
We need at least 08 solar panels, a charge controller, a battery, and an AC inverter. About 20 square-meter space on the roof or lawn is sufficient for installation. The estimated cost of this system ranges from 1300-1700 US dollars (i.e., 1 to 1.5 lac Indian rupees).