Today, solar energy has firmly established itself as one of the most sustainable and cost-effective energy options for homes and businesses. There are more and more takers for this form of energy to combat the harmful effects of global warming and rising power bills. However, in spite of its numerous benefits, there is still skepticism regarding the benefits when it comes to deriving energy from the sun. Let us attempt to educate ourselves by busting some of the misconceptions that prevail in the minds of prospective investors and buyers.
Myth: Solar panels are not economically viable to install in industries and factories.
With the recent demand and popularity of alternative sources of energy, especially solar power, there has been a considerable decrease in the prices of buying and installing solar systems. With rising power prices and tax incentives, going solar is most definitely a viable proposition.
Myth: The payback period is lengthy.
A common myth is that the return on investment with solar systems is usually around 8 to 10 years. This is far from the truth. Depending on the size of the project and the amount invested, one generally gets the ROI within 3-4 years of the initial investment.
Solar power is a means of reducing energy costs. In areas where power cuts are less frequent, it helps reduce overall energy bills. In areas where power cuts are more and generators are used, it helps reduce operational costs of DG sets. Each unit of energy produced by a diesel generator costs approximately Rs 22. Either way, solar helps cut power bills.
Myth: Solar panels work best in warmer and hot climates and no energy is generated during the monsoons.
It is not mandatory to stay in warm and sunny climates for solar panels to work at their best. In reality, the technology installed in these panels harness the sun’s light – not its temperature. Therefore, they function just as well in colder climates as in places with hot temperature. Ideally the output increases, as ambient temperature gets closer to 25 degrees Celsius and as altitude rises.
During the monsoons, the generation is reduced as the availability of sun hours is reduced. However, this does not shut off solar power generation. Hence the generation guarantees are always given on an annual basis. This factors in the ups and downs in generation that happens seasonally throughout the year.
Myth: “Most of my production happens in the night, hence solar is of no use to me as I do not want to invest in batteries”.
Solar panels draw energy from the sun during the day. The surplus energy produced can be utilized at night. This surplus is created when the energy produced is more than what is consumed in the daytime. In electrical grid systems, the surplus power is sent to the grid in the day and drawn back at night when required. This happens by way of a net-metering system and the exported units are set-off in the power bill sent by the DISCOM.
This net metering system is responsible for determining how much excess energy the factory is producing and adding back to the grid. The factory-owner is then credited with electricity credits based on how much additional energy the unit is supplying to the grid. Thus the grid generally acts as the battery system for the factory. Batteries can be a back-up option for uninterrupted power in case of regular outages in the grid system.
Myth: Solar panels need high maintenance.
Solar systems require very little maintenance. In most cases, they outlive their 25-year warranty periods. They generally require nothing more than periodic cleaning of panels.
Myth: Solar panels cause roof damage.
On the contrary, solar panels sometimes protect the roof from deterioration and leakage. Modular panels are installed on railing rather than the roof directly. The weight of the entire system is put on the structure rather than the sheet. They are put directly on roof/metal sheets in cases where the sheet is designed for such loads. It also helps in reducing the overall temperature of the shed on which it is installed.
Myth: Factories and Manufacturing units cannot run on solar as it cannot provide uninterrupted supply of energy.
Solar works seamlessly with the grid interface. There is no lag in supply of power to the loads. The power needs of the loads will be met always. In case solar is unable to produce instead of in it should be is the entire requirement, the deficit will be supplied by the grid without any interruption. Moreover, solar output is a constant voltage output, which is the best output for machines running in factories.
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