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Tag Archives: Solar

Green Building Ideas:Using Solar panels as roofing sheet instead of asbestos.


Using Solar panels as roofing sheet instead of asbestos. Simple process for creating affordable housing especially for the rural poor along with doing  village electrification.  With this thought in mind I spoke to one of my friends who is a Block Development Officer in the state of Orissa. The reception to my idea was instant. Rural electrification.

What if the Solar OPEX model which I helped devise and is working wonders for  the Indian cities be utilized for the villages? While taking off the load from Malls, Commercial centres and the rest which guzzle energy would free up plenty of energy for the state government to provide it to the rural poor, sadly the infrastructure to carry it is not there. We would require the large pylons to be installed first, then string the heavy duty cables then create sub-stations etc. All this network requires enormous amount of synergy between various stake holders and it is nothing but a nightmare in India.

So if I can convince an investor, who is already supportive of my Solar OPEX   concept and we are already having 2MW worth of commitments, for institutional and commercial establishment each, and work has already begun past the inception stage towards EPC; the same amount or perhaps more in Rural Electrification?

We have thousands of home in Rural India who have none or limited access to electricity. And also thousands of homes who have thatched /asbestos roof, which under various programs are being removed to give FRP or GI-Sheet roofing. Solar Panels by default come in metal trays which can also act in -parts as roof. Where that is not possible a Solar “trees” can be planted within the village at strategic locations and the power distributed within its periphery.

So if my B.D.O friend can devise an instrument where the various subsidies which are given to Kerosene, Diesel and roofing materials can be accumulated under one program and driven by say the MNRE & NREGA  missions combined,  which one can find by clicking on the link  and provide the subsidies to the investor of Solar, this idea of village electrification would become possible in the shortest possible period.

It is a Green Business Idea which corporates must think of coming around too, and frankly there would be no competition as the scale is so vast that even 10 large investors with an appetite of 100MW each can not consume it.

Moreover, as investors are more interested in their RoI, this is the right opportunity for them to invest. The subsidy on Diesel and Kerosene is breaking the back of the Indian economy. So if we can even implement a model of distributed generation for Malls, Cold Store Chains etc mandatory within the various city premise, to balance out the expense incurred for creating the rural electrification infrastructure, the total cost saved by the transmission agencies would be  enormous.

It is also a fact that most grid have massive under-recovery from many zones. It would serve well if States took the decision to limit transmission of power through the Grid to these areas, and implement the roof-top solar instead. Thus the defaulters would not be able to draw-in more power than what is generated in the day-time. And while the Grid would supply power into the night it can be timed such that it can be exploited the least.

 

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Challenges of roof-top Solar: Can we have make them more non-reflective ?


Every new idea faces some challenges. Those which can rise up to them quickly and even before they become problems are the ones which have a future. Many articles speak of some opposition to Solar Power plants. Some don’t want it to cover large expanse of land, while others find that it changes the scenery around their habitat, thus an eye-sore. Wind power too has faced similar problems.

India  has through its National Action Plan for Climate Change, brought about 8 missions of which 3  look at the direction of energy efficiency with scope for renewable. As the power plant through Solar, which is comparatively new in implementation, in India matures, so would the problems. And the problems it would face would be unique to it.

English: Solar One power plant in Mojave Deser...

Large solar-plant in India, would not face much problems as long  as they are  installed in low density, arid to semi arid regions, for now. Although it would be better for the investors to do the Environmental Impact Assessment and have back up plans for adaptation. And those  close to rural habitation, must also think of innovation in case pressure in land due to population density increase. Which is a definite possibility in India.

However, Roof-top solar; which in my opinion is the real game changer in the immediate future; would be facing issues which the Indian Solar industry has not yet perhaps anticipated . The problem would be from the potential hazard of glint & glare of reflected sunlight, especially in high-density Urban settings. ( even the large rural SPV plants would have the problem if directly under flight path of the air-force / aviation industry )  The sooner the manufacturers and all related stake-holders wise up to it the better it would be for all.

In my earlier article on OPEX Solar I have already started receiving tremendous response. Therefore, I am able to anticipate the issues which could come up first hand. Buildings in any city are of varying hight. Tall buildings overlooking clusters of row-houses or commercial centre like malls, cinema halls and even hospitals and schools. Typical settings where one can seek business in roof -top solar. More often than not, these roof installation would be of a fixed type south-facing system angled in accordance to the latitude of the city. The reason to make them face south is for receiving the maximum  sunlight as the sun traverses the sky from dawn to dusk. While this would ensure maximum power-generation, it would also generate maximum ire from the poor souls who would be occupying the buildings which would be bouncing the reflected sunlight. And the Indian summer, well to put it mildly is very bright indeed. Not only would it add to the glare, in-fact the reflected heat if intense could also damage PVC pipes and other materials, if preventive steps are not taken before hand.

So what are the precautions one must take to avoid this situation ? Some article have already covered this issue. However I am for the solution and not flagging the problem and leaving it there.  While solar panels are designed to absorb sunlight to convert it into electricity, most commercially available PV panels today lose about 4 percent of their potential power output due to light reflection from the front surface of the cover glass. Solutions are already on the way, with Honeywell launching the SOLARC anti-reflective coating in February 2011. SOLARC materials are based on advanced materials used in semiconductor manufacturing. They are transparent coatings that improve the light transmittance through the glass that covers photovoltaic, or PV, panels, thus increasing the PV module efficiency and power output. These coatings also significantly reduce glare from the glass, allowing the PV panel to better blend with its surroundings.

Here one needs, especially in India to educate the potential investor to be ready to invest a little more on the prevention and precautions with respect to glint & glare. Especially to avoid the opposition, the type I have posted as links through out this article. India, needs the power through SPV. It is the only way to reduce the carbon emission, which is sure to increase as the Country grows. And as all know, carbon emission is a politically loaded subjected. It can bring intense pain or relief in terms of international relations in the years to come.

Should we lose out on the potential of the Sun, which India has in abundance due to wrong application, it would be a tragedy for the Nation.

 

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Green Business Idea : How to build a Mercedes at the price of a Nano!


The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...Cadmium in the China river, who could have imagined that such a thing would be ever reported? This let me think as how can we really make people and businesses responsible?

Whether we like it or not, we are born Human a species just like any other in this Ecosystem called Earth. And just like any other Species we are programmed in a certain way.  That is discarding what we don’t need.

It is perfectly natural. Birds do it. Bees do it. We do it too !  But here we have a small problem. We are “Civilized” and the rest are ..well “animals”! We have down the evolution chain “evolved” into “intelligent animals” and we no more can be called “animals”. So in time, we divorced ourselves from the laws of Ecosystem,of sustainable living; in the quest to be “Civilized Humans of the World”. And in the process created one big unholy mess for Earth.

Whatever the animals discard is 100% Biodegradable. We stopped doing that since the Industrial Revolution. Most of it.

Therefore when  we –

Soar like a bird” we have the biggest scrap-yard of old airplanes.

Sprint like a cheetah” we have heaps of scrapped motorcycles collected by the Police from the Highways, as the rider is long dead and gone…

“Sing like a Nightingale” we have discarded vinyl, creating a nightmare for environment in landfills.

India is growing, which makes me happy indeed. However are we growing the right way or are we going to do what the west has been doing ? How will India make  sustainable  progress a part of  it’s every day existence, thus keep at bay the pressure it would surely meet, to conform to norms set by the developing world in its agenda to set right the Climate mess we all are in today?As more and more cars, airplanes and other modern life-style starts percolating into the vast and opening and still to open markets of the Tier I,II & III towns and centers, where aspirations are more than that of a city dweller in Mumbai or New Delhi. Would we have in place to handle the waste that it would be generating? Or can we partner today with the western developed Nations and create a market which can be beneficial to both, while truly bringing in the near perfect model of Reduce – Recycle – Reuse ?

I could have gone on and make a fine prose of this article, but I need to propose a  Green Business Idea. That is the only sure way to save Earth. The Economics of Ecology.

Let us then begin at the scrap yards for Air planes. I’m sure all of us love the nice comfortable airline seats, the clear oval windows, the carpet, the superbly functional over-head storage, the air conditioner nozzle and LED lights the neat steel toilets, wash basin and fixtures. While almost all the aircraft parts are salvaged and used, this process could be accelerated if the salvaged parts like the luxurious chairs, overhead bins etc are shipped to India to be fitted in Interiors of trains, buses and even homes. Imagine an intercity super-fast train running in India which has the look and feel of an air-plane? And I always wish I could have the overhead bins used for cabin luggage for my office interior projects. Would look really nice, plus the A/c and Light control would be right over the head of the user, who can then turn it off when not in use. And those neat wash basins and water-closets, super for the super small office spaces in Mumbai. I could also use the windows. Clubbing them together in interesting fashion in interior projects, compact and double glazed it can also make a perfect building façade. Letting light in yet keeping heat out.

Next are Automobiles. It is very painful to see how the cars are salvaged in the west. In this video you can actually see how the mind set of the public still needs to be refined further to actually understand the word – RECYCLE & REUSE. Of course the last word REDUCE has been utilized but in a very …lets say scope for improvement is definitely there.

One can always remove the glass panes from the doors, and perhaps the windscreen too could be removed. While the door glass panes could be reused, the windscreen more often than not would break at the edges and can be sent to glass recycling units separately. If you notice there would be perfect headlamps and tail lights and rear view mirrors, which can be dismantled along with the wipers, locks and handles. If you hear the video again, there is a point where the person at the desk says -” people could care less for doors, moldings…” which is so difficult to comprehend form a reuse point of view.

English: Daytime Running Lights implemented wi...

Many times people scrap cars because a door got damaged and no amount of repairs can bring it back to perfection. In that case if the company can lead a person to a reused car part company, where s/he could get a fix and the car could probably run for a few more years! Same goes for the trimming, seats, and lamps.  And to crush a perfect car, a 2011 Lexus..when so many parts could have been salvaged, defies logic. Can anyone explain why the lights and rear-view mirrors and the logo could not be salvaged ?In Mumbai, India all top line cars face the menace of having there logo or car rims stolen. It fetches good money. And trust me, it costs an arm to buy a headlamp should you shatter it while parking the car or just driving it and following all the traffic rules! Because driving rules are alien to most Indians in India. In Indian roads and driving sense, one could laugh all the way to the Bank by just selling head and tail lamp fixtures. With more and more imported cars models arriving in India, this would be perhaps a perfect Green Business Idea, to get the parts from the West and sell them here.

Moreover if the automobile companies take the perfect parts back and reuse them they would do a lot of good for themselves and the Environment. They could perhaps make a new line of refurbished cars. And no it would not be called “cheap” in a demeaning way but a Green Business Idea of producing lets say “pert” models of the same car model. Which can then be sold in a market where cheaper cars have a demand and perhaps they could be surprised within the existing market, where I’m sure buyers who would any-day prefer a refurbished car from the automaker over the used car selling companies.

We could then perhaps then have a Mercedes at the price of a Nano! Wow, I am buying just make it run on CNG ( compressed natural gas ) !

And no, it would not mean competition and end of both the new part manufacturing vendors or the used car seller. In fact with the economy in such a flux as it is now, both of them can be symbiotic to each other and probably benefit even the Original car maker should it puts its stamp of approval.

 
 

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Green Business Ideas : Cheap Solar Power is possible


Most Small Companies who are installing roof top Solar Panels are doing so to get the Tax rebate in India. They are also doing it to “earn” Carbon Credits. For the lay business person “earning” carbon credits means “profit”. While it can not be true because the system of Carbon Credit fund is just to improve your IRR, and can’t be found under BUA ; I do not like to discourage this trend. Why? Simple – to earn Carbon Credits one has to do a CDM project. And I love that. Then if it can be proven to be a valid project worthy of Carbon Credit funds, great! By that time they understand that, they do a good job and can see the benefits all around to bother much for the “profit” through CER’s. If they get it its nice but the life-cycle benefits of a Green Building is consolation enough.

But Carbon Credit can become profitable, at least with due diligence and revised thought by the CDM authority. And be given as an incentive to those who would be able to do rural electrification or as in the case of India, provide electricity in tier III towns for a decent time with the help of the wires and cables the Government of the day may have installed during the election years, but forget to insure supply of power on a regular basis once chosen to govern. Not because they chose not too, but during the heat of elections most forget that there is a term – technical and/ or economic feasibility. But when did full truth ever help win an election in the World?

Let us discuss an idea, about how we can make Solar Power at a cheaper cost.

The life of a Solar panel is 25 years, but it is assumed that the efficiency drops to 80% in the 10th year. And by the first five years the RoI is achieved. Now as newer and more efficient panels are being produced, there could be a cause for worry that it would be more and more difficult to sell them, as the traditional first enterprises to take up the challenge and having installed Solar Parks would still be holding on to the “old” SPV for its 25 year life span.

English: On 140 acres of unused land on Nellis...

So how does one make the Solar PV industries grow? How would the cost be covered and  more efficient panels generating more power and consuming less space and lighter in weight too come into the market?

One idea could be by selling old solar panels !   It is a great eco-idea and to encourage this, we need participation from all stake holders.

Second sale is popular in automobile, mobile phone and many products, the market system is mature. All it needs is to tweak it to conform to the SPV industry.

Imagine villages in India, Africa, Brazil and other developing nations who have a huge socio-economic gap among its Peoples and yet are emerging economies of the future; could create a Program of Activities where in a Public -Private partnership can be mooted and a viable business plan developed.

From Village roofing; thus eliminating traditional  thatch roof which is becoming more dearer as communities shift away from agrarian life-style and there is land use change; to community shelters for the destitute sleeping in the cold & rain; to roofing alternatives for very small-scale or cottage industries; to providing power to their electric stoves, thus eliminating the GHG from Gobar Gas plants ( read my article – Renewable Energy – Empowering Women & Saving Forests ) the ideas can be many and each more practical and wonderful than the earlier.

Now add to this the Green Climate Fund and let the project proponents recoup some of their investment ( which is lower to start with in second sale product ) through Carbon Credit.

Hope someone would develop on this idea and present it at the Rio+20.

 

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