Our ancestors always worshipped Mother Nature and other natural elements with the understanding that they sustain life form on earth. All the mythological Devas were actually natural elements, for example Surya Deva, Varun Deva, Vayu Deva, Chandra Deva etc. Even our Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to various deities, chief of whom are Indra, Agni, the sacrificial fire; and Soma, the sacred potion or the plant it is made from. Equally prominent gods are the Adityas, Varuna and Ushas (the dawn). Also invoked are Vishnu, Rudra, Pushan, Brihaspati or Brahmanaspati, as well as deified natural phenomena such as Dyaus Pita (the shining sky, Father Heaven), Prithivi, Surya, Vayu, Apas (the waters), Parjanya (the thunder and rain), Vac (the word), and many rivers (notably the Sapta Sindhu, and the Sarasvati River). Well, not only they sustain life form, Sun, water and wind are one of the biggest sources of alternative or renewable energy.
Renewable energy is the energy generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, water, tides, and geothermal heat. With each passing day, out traditional energy resources like coal are not only polluting the earth, they are also getting extinct very fast. If we don’t find greener natural resources now, there might be a day when we will not have any resources left. The biggest advantage of renewable energy is that they are almost inexhaustible and eternal. Not only that, they are environmental friendly. Renewable energy sources are thus very important now than at any other time.
However, most of these resources require very sophisticated technology with huge funding to tap it. For example, in order to tap wind energy, big wind turbines are required. Only government can do that! Same way, hydroelectric dams tap moving water energy. Clearly not a work of single individual! Not a problem with Solar energy though! It is possibly the only energy source that every individual can tap and use.
Don’t you think it is the solution that remote villages in India desperately need? It can be solar lamp, solar cooker, solar heater and much more. We have used solar cooker at our home for last 8 years and eaten deliciously cooked rice. I have seen many apartments and hostels using solar heaters. Even government is giving subsidies on renewable energy products. But still percentage usage is very less. Partly due to high prices and partly due to less awareness about its benefits. A single household can recover the cost of solar instrument within 4-5 years and then onwards its absolutely free service for them. Not only it is cheaper in longer run, it is also environmental friendly.
What government or municipality can do here:
- Identify remote villages and install solar lamps at public places.
- Distribute free solar cooker to people with specific income range and encourage others to buy them with government subsidy.
- Make it mandatory to use solar heater for big institutions, hostels, hotels where more than certain number of persons stay. There are some countries where such policy is in order. With most of the hostels and hotels covered, it can reduce big amount of electricity usage there.
- Encourage business companies to install big solar panels on the roof to generate solar power. It can reverse supply power to electricity board and get paid for that! Google is doing it quite nicely.
- Encourage educational institutes to do research on solar cells. If cost of solar cells can be reduced, it will make mass production and distribution of solar panels possible.
What individual person like us can do:
- We can generate awareness about this in friends and relatives.
- We can buy solar cooker. It is very cheap and easily available.
- For those with more power and finance, buy solar heater at apartments or hostels.
- If power cut is common at your place, use solar lamp as emergency lamp.
Now idea of the article:
Everyone has seen solar heaters with big Photovoltaic panel. Generally, we need hot water only in morning for bath. However, during full daytime, water is getting heated continuously without any use. Why can’t we utilize this energy to generate electricity and use it for all household usage?
Basically, it should have one switch like functionality to set either for water heating or for household electricity work. That way, these solar panels can be utilized properly.
I sent this suggestion to TATA BP Solar Company. I asked them following:
“If this functionality is not available, I request you to pass on it to engineering team to find our feasibility of this idea. If feasible, it can be implemented which can greatly benefit your organization and our energy starved country India.”
Sadly, I didn’t get proper answer. Here is the answer:
Raju, G V (TATA BP Solar)
Pls find the answers
a) Hot water temp is 60 deg and what is application .
b) Solar PV is different technology. This system is only for hot water.
From: Prasanna Kumar, H N (TATA BP Solar)
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 2:44 PM
To: Raju, G V (TATA BP Solar)
Subject: FW: Regarding TATA BP Solar system
Brain Storming enquiry !!!!!
Any takers for this idea??
P.S.: As I wrote the article, Union Budget is out there. Solar energy has found a special mention in it. The government proposes to establish a national clean energy fund and is targeting the setting up of 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022. Allocation for renewable energy has been increased to Rs 1,000 crore. A separate sum of Rs 500 crore has been allotted for the setting up of solar and small hydro power units. Excise duty on photo-voltaic and solar panels has been waived. Cheers!!