Energy Diet

It’s been six weeks now on 360º Energy Diet and I have learned a lot, which I am proud of.  This week I spent some time reading other posts here and found some very interesting things.  

In order to take my next step, I started researching how can i plan for renewable energy at home? This is not something very common in this geography so I became more curious about the subject.

A few facts I collected on renewable energy and relevant products in India:

  • Solar energy is being used for water heating and light, though more popular in rural areas.
  • There are more than 330 sunny days a year in India
  • This country gets around 5,000 trillion kilowatt hours of solar radiation per year, which is more than India’s total annual requirement
  • There are too few vendors for such solar products. I failed to find them in the cities, and I am assuming that they are targeting villages and rural areas only.
  • Most of those vendors are selling solar lanterns and water heaters, nothing much.
  • I was happy to see that they were giving easy finance options with a nominal interest rate.

But I was more interested in generating energy that could be used at home. I realized that it was hard to find any solar panel installation in this city expect for a few lamp shades.

Other facts I gathered, which are enough to discourage me to venture further into this subject:

  • The cost of production of renewable energy ranges from 15 to 30 Indian rupees ($.33 – 66) per unit compared to around 5 to 8 Indian rupees ($.11 – 17) per unit for conventional thermal energy.
  • There is not enough awareness about these systems and manufacturers are targeting only remote areas where it is difficult to get regular electricity  connections.
  • The best company that sells such products is TataBPSolar, and all their products look like experiments, not the actual product I want to use at home.

Another interesting thing I came across was that the world’s largest solar steam cooking system is in India. This system has a capacity to prepare food for 15,000 people per day and employs automatic tracking solar dish concentrators, which convert water into high pressure steam. The steam thus generated is being used for cooking purposes in the kitchen. Later I realized that the cooking systems are an experiment some temples are adopting to save money. One of these cooking systems saves an estimated 118,000 liters (31,172 gallons) of diesel per year, valued at 2.3 million rupees ($51,133).

While I was reading other posts on the 360º Energy Diet, I realized that economy and culture are very important factors in a country’s governing priorities, and I don’t see comparable awareness here in this geography. In was trying to rationalize my views on the subject, I recalled that Bill Gates was speaking about the same subject at a session on ‘rebalancing sustainable development’ at the World Economic Forum:

“The fact of the matter is that with population growth, more energy is going to be used. Can we ask, for example, a poor person in India to consume less energy when he is already using the minimum?”

“Slowing population growth and making lives healthier will have much bigger effect on sustainable development than conventional energy savings plans.”

These quotes are very valid for India.

Comments

  1. clipton
    March 9, 2011, 5:48 pm

    Yogesh–For solar energy, Selco is a great success story in India. They have facilitated the installation of more than 100,000 solar installation systems in the last 15 years. Take a look: http://www.selco-india.com/