An hourly estimate of what the Sun beams its sunlight onto our Earth, can produce energy equivalent to what we use for an entire year. Even then the energy demand met by the solar power is less than 1% of the global requirement.
Solar power is the harnessing of the solar energy and making it usable. Power is produced by collecting sunlight and converting it into electricity. This is done by using solar panels, which are large flat panels made up of many individual solar cells. These are most often used in remote locations, although it is now becoming more popular in urban areas too.
The process is carried out by photovoltaic cells or solar panel found on a large number of devices like space crafts, rooftops, hand held calculators etc. These specialized cells are made up of semi-conductor material, which are mainly used in computer chips. The cell gets hit by the solar light and in turn, displaces the electrons in the atoms. These moving electrons in the cell generate electricity.
Cost of Installation
Different places around the world have different costs of panel installations for solar energy –
In India – cost of a PV module (just the panel) costs anywhere between Rs 30 to Rs 50 per watt of power generated (depending on the quantity you are buying). A typical Off Grid Solar PV System would cost about Rs 1-1.25 lakhs. Typical efficiency of panels available in India is between 14-17%.
In USA – ‘The installed cost of solar panels is between $7 and $9 per watt – A 5 kW system would cost around $25,000-$35,000. Many utility companies offer incentives, and some subsidize as much as 50% of system costs.’ This is the price you have to pay if you are a residence in US and the price is decreasing every day with the easy availability, connectivity and adoptability of this non fossil form of energy.
The cost of installation of photo voltaic systems continued to decline in 2014, notes Solar Power Europe (SPE). “System prices below €1/wp are now common in several European countries, while prices around $1/wp have been reported in the most competitive tenders.”
Why should you use solar power for home?
- Savings due to lower unit cost of electricity.
- Return on investment (3-5 years), making the energy free for the next 20 years.
- Save power, money and our planet by reducing the carbon foot print
The decreasing prices and the rapid growth for grid-connected photo voltaic panel are expected to continue even if government support is reduced. The market will really take off when electricity becomes cheaper than other grid sources. The road map of renewable energy suggests that solar energy will constitute for about 5% global electricity demand by 2030.