Houses take a shine to solar power
As solar panels get cheaper, they are being bought for use in houses also. Until last year, industries and institutions like schools and hospitals bought most of the rooftop solar systems to save on power bills and taxes.
Free power from solar panels offset the high rate of electricity for commercial use and businesses were also able to claim accelerated depreciation (a method to increase deductions) on the equipment to lower their taxable income.
Households, however, were reluctant to pay the steep initial cost of rooftop systems. But now, prices have come down to a level where users can recover the initial cost in 5-6 years, so interest in these systems is increasing.
“Our company is receiving decent demand from the residential sector because people have realized that they can reduce their electricity bill considerably. The highest slab of grid tariff that a household pays is Rs 9.6 per unit but with the installation of rooftop solar systems they only have to pay around Rs 6.5 per unit. Installing a system of 3kW-5kW can reduce the electricity bill by 30%,” says Tanya Batra, senior marketing manager, Sunkalp Energy.
The demand from households is growing slowly and there are limitations attached to the installation of solar power panels. The wind speed in an area determines the thickness of a solar panel. The efficiency of a system also depends on its orientation. It has to face outwards and be at an angle of 28 degrees from the ground for optimum efficiency.