For homeowners, 5 truths about solar

Homeowners today don’t fully appreciate the lifetime benefits of adopting solar energy. Most regard it merely as an environment-friendly option. While several commercial and industrial establishments have installed solar systems, residential consumers are yet to embrace the technology, despite the fact that solar is cheaper in the long-run.

From my conversations with homeowners, it has become apparent that there are many misconceptions surrounding the functionality of solar. Through this article, I aim to bring to light some important truths about rooftop solar.

Truth 1: Solar can adequately power a household’s energy requirements.

Rooftop solar is the most optimal, long-term energy solution for Indian households. Since it is generated and consumed in our homes, it does not rely on grid infrastructure, making it cheaper and more dependable and shielding homeowners from power cuts and faulty grid lines. Contrary to perception, most homes have roof space for enough solar panelling to meet a significant part of their monthly electricity requirements.

For example, most middle-income houses consume around 150 units of electricity per month and typically have a roof area of around 500 sqft. Conservatively assuming that only 30% of the area is shadow-free and available for solar panels, this translates into 150 sqft. of area, in which about 1.5kW of solar panels can be installed. These panels would generate at least 200 units of electricity per month thereby supplying all the energy required by the household.

Installing batteries with solar panels eliminates the need for a UPS to avail back-up power during power cuts, further reducing electricity bills. The batteries and the solar inverter can be sized depending upon the extent and duration of back-up desired.

Truth 2: Solar is cheaper than grid electricity.

Prices of conventional grid electricity have been rising by over 4–6% every year. With reduced subsidies for grid electricity, distribution companies need to compensate for losses by hiking electricity tariffs. The cost of solar power, on the other hand, has been steadily decreasing, mainly due to the growing scale of deployment. Consumers can expect further price reductions as solar storage gets cheaper.

Financing options make it easier to afford upfront installation costs, enabling households to adopt solar by paying only 10–20% of the investment upfront. Unlike other commodities — like a microwave or refrigerator — solar panels return, on average, two to four times their cost in saved electricity bills. So, whatever it costs to purchase solar is repaid in energy savings over its lifetime.

Maintaining solar panels is inexpensive and easy — most outlive their average 25-year warranties. Today’s systems include monitoring software for timely alerts in case repairs are needed.

Truth 3: Finding the right solar solution for your home is easy.

Homeowners often fear making a wrong purchase due to their lack of knowledge about solar technology. Thanks to online sizing and recommendation tools, the selection processes for solar is now highly simplified. Homeowners can receive a comprehensive, optimal and error-free recommendation from experts based on their individual requirements. Technical assistance over phone/chat/blogs coupled with post-purchase service make the purchase very simple.

Truth 4: Solar panels can be installed on any kind of rooftop.

Solar panels can be mounted on any kind of roof — concrete, tiled, clay, metallic, sloping or flat. The supporting structures are designed to ensure that the panels can withstand wind speeds of upto 120 km/hr. Some homeowners worry about the damage that the panels may cause to their rooftops. Professional installers can ensure that installation causes no damage, and besides, solar panels may even extend the life of the roof by protecting it from the elements. Solar panels are usually installed a few inches above the roof and do not weigh enough to cause damage.

Truth 5: Solar energy is much more reliable than grid electricity.

Solar power is arguably the cleanest form of renewable energy and can be used in several forms to help power your home. It is available to all of us free of cost, all you need to do is harness and store it. It is important to install solar panels from a reputed brand and choose an installer who offers you the best experience with excellence in installation, selection of components and warranty with fair pricing.

A certain degree of scepticism is typical with emerging technologies, and solar power is no exception. However, the technology has been proven at a global scale over many years, giving us a strong reason to believe in it.

(The writer is Founder & CEO, Glowship)

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For homeowners, 5 truths about solar

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