As electricity prices continue to rise, and awareness about climate change increases, there is a significant number of people looking to make the switch to renewable resources of electricity, that also increases their overall savings. One of the more practical approaches to these concerns has been the use of solar energy, an option the Indian climate is ideal for. With the advent of newer technologies that involve the use of solar panels, you no longer have to rely on clear sunny skies. Solar systems for homes now capture heat and convert the same into electric power.
There have been numerous government initiatives to encourage the transition to solar energy. For example, in Tamil Nadu, the government offers solar panels at subsidised rates, which reduces the initial investment that goes into installing rooftop solar panels. Once a household has used the amount of electricity it requires for its needs; the excess energy will transfer back to the electric grid, for which they will be compensated. With schemes like these, it is truly a win-win situation for both the consumer and the government.
Making the switch to solar energy
To help you decide on whether you want to take the plunge into solar energy, you can use a solar calculator to measure your electricity savings. The state-run Ministry of New and Renewable Energy provides a solar calculator that residential consumers can use. The calculator works in a simple manner. You can calculate your savings based on the area of the rooftop you currently have or the solar panel capacity you want to install. Here are a couple of options as to how you can get an estimate of savings based on your budget:
Based on your rooftop area
Under this option, the solar calculator prompts you to enter the area you have in square meters or square feet. You can then specify how much of that area is available for the installation of solar panels. Select which state you live in and the residential option. The calculator will automatically input the cost of electricity; this is customisable, and you can change this number. The calculator then calculates how much solar energy you will be able to generate per month, the total cost for installing the solar plant along with the subsidised rate, and your savings per month, year, and also for a lifetime.
Based on the solar panel capacity
The second option you have is to calculate your savings based on the solar panel capacity. On your electricity bill, you can find how much electric energy your house consumes per month. After you input this value, the calculator will then display the estimated investment you will have to make to reach your goal, and the savings you will make with a solar plant of your desired size.
Based on your budget
The last option is based on your budget. Enter your budget amount into the specified field and then select which state you reside in. The calculator will show you how much electricity the system will generate and the amount you save.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy also allows you to apply for solar photovoltaic installation which will be connected to the grid. This gives you the opportunity to help reduce your carbon footprint along with helping you save more on electricity. The ministry has an installation application form that has to be approved before making an installation. In this application form, you will have to specify the category you want to use solar energy for. Once you choose domestic, you will have to provide your details, including your address, and contact information. You will also have to specify the size of the power plant suitable for your building using their solar calculator.
Consumers are given a choice between three business models to choose from, for their Solar Voltaic (SV) installation, mentioned below:
- CAPEX- Here the consumer pays for the SV installation entirely upfront. This system is ideal for industries and commercial usage and can be used to calm tax benefits.
- RESCO- Under this model, a third party invests in the installation of the SV system. The consumer does not have to invest anything. The investor and the consumer come to an agreement on the tariff for the power generated, which will span over a timeline between 15-25 years.
- Rooftop Renting- This option allows you to lease your rooftops to generate an additional source of income.
You can choose who you would like to install the SV system. This includes State Nodal Agencies, the Solar Corporation of India, which is run by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, government agencies, and channel partners. You could also create your own tender and give the job to someone you pick. The last step is to submit your form, after which you will receive updates via email or phone about a solar system that will suit your needs and financial ability.