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Rays of Hope

Everyone talks about Solar Power, it’s time to implement

With the recently struck up deal for West Seti and other numerous hydropower projects in the pipeline, power solutions seem like a goal nearly achieved. But with the unrelenting and ordinary politics and ill bureaucracy, it might take a few multiple of five years to complete. We don’t have the patience nor the will to wait that long. Maybe it’s about time we put our arms around whatever is feasible and to the one that is simply bright. The technology is rather simple and has been around for a while but yet we seem reluctant to change. It is going to require a little educating and some myth busting to get us started. First things first, it is not expensive at all for a basic home setup as we have been led to believe. The outlets are numerous and vendors willing, the wait only being for us to be there and learn the specifics.

Untitled_1.jpgCountries have already begun to farm solar energy in masses to provide a substantial backup to their central grid as well as to reduce the carbon emissions caused by other alternatives like coal and diesel generators. A couple of such projects can also be seen in Kathmandu where a large number of panels are put together in a field and electricity accumulated. The significance of these grow even more when we imagine that there are still places in Nepal where light means either sun or kerosene lamps. There are subsidies in purchase of solar panels by the government of Nepal for such places but no talk of such deals is evident for the urban and suburban regions.

The theory behind the power generation using the photovoltaic (PV) panels is simple. A panel consists of PV cells grouped together and interconnected. Each cell is made up of silicon which absorbs the light energy and later passes it on as electricity. This will have to be stored in batteries for subsequent use. As long as the sun keeps giving light, the panels will keep producing electricity. The technique is same from solar calculators, watches to home solar panels.

The system will also consist of an inverter like the one used to charge from normal electricity and serves the same purpose. It converts direct current (DC) produced by solar panels to alternating current (AC) to power our appliances. Another piece that will also be used is called a charge controller which is a voltage regulator that keeps the batteries from overcharging.

The price ranges from a few thousand to handsome amounts dependent on how elaborate your setting is. You can run from tube lights, televisions, electric guitars to jet pumps with solar power. You only have to decide what you can afford. If you can’t pay the sum outright there is also the facility of payment in installments with some companies.

Inside_Cover_HIS5117.jpgIt is always a good idea to shop around and find the best price that suits you. Most vendors sell them in package so that you don’t miss anything plus they will have the right combination. Having said that, the market isn’t short of people who will cut corners and make that extra buck. If you are keen and do some study on the internet, you could even buy the different parts separately and have them installed by a local electrician which might save you some.

Some common queries about solar power:

How much energy does the sun produce?
The sun produces limitless amount of energy so far as earth is concerned. To put things into perspective, the energy given to us by the sun in one hour is equivalent to the energy consumption of the world in a year. So potentially the whole of the electricity may be produced by solar power systems in the future.

What are the companies that sell solar power system?
There are many companies involved in solar power systems these days. These are the few we came across after a quick search.

Gham Power
4438950, 4438937

Nepal Solar Energy Company
Patan Dhoka, Lalaitpur
9841732403, 9841652076

Nepal Solar and Water Purifier
Sukedhara, Kathamandu

Integrated Energy
Baluwatar, Kathmandu
4424515, 4424029

Sunray Energy Nepal
Balaju, Kathamandu
4387938, 4355641

What kits will be fitted?
  • One or more Solar panels
  • One or more Batteries
  • One Inverter
  • One Charge control

How long does it take to fit?
It takes about 2 to 3 days since some portion of your home wiring will have to be redone.

What is the price range?
The price ranges from about 25k for lights only setup to several lakhs for a lavished “didn’t realize there was a two day black out in Kathmandu” setup.

What about maintenance?
Gham Power provides a two year maintenance that includes basic tweaks, cleaning and change of battery liquid. Others don’t seem to bother too much but to be true the system may not require much servicing except for the batteries. Corporate deals are a different matter altogether. It will require major planning and funding as well.

What happens in a cloudy day?
If it is absolutely dark there is no way your panels will produce anything but a partly cloudy day is good enough to create power. Contrary to popular belief, the solar panels work better at cooler temperatures than when it is really hot.

The hydro power plants are expensive and time consuming to build, the fossil fuel plants are expensive and dirty and the wind energy is hard to exploit, all these lead us to one thing and only one and that is harnessing the sun. It is one of the most renewable and readily available sources of energy. Whatever songs we sing about the usability of solar energy will fall short under the immense weight of its importance. Let us go green. Let us initiate the literal power struggle of our country. If enough of us use them, the existent crisis may be averted and the hydro electricity used for industries and development of the country. Let us look up to the heavens once more as we have done numerous times in the past.

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Posted : September 13, 2012 02:07:08 PM     by sup
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