More and more people in the country are looking at the sun for cleaner energy options and rightly so. India receives a huge amount of sunlight every year. If harnessed through cost effective methods, this sunlight could be used to produce a whooping 600 giga watts of electricity. This is more than five times the annual power consumption of India which is only 120 giga watts. But despite the fact that the potential is huge, what India currently derives is only 10-15 mega watts annually.
How to power your home with solar energy?
The most well-known utilization of solar energy has been with solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. Here sun’s light is converted by the PV cells into Direct Current (DC), thus giving you electricity. This electricity can then be used to run almost all gadgets in your home. Another method involves the use of sun’s heat instead of light. Energy produced from sun’s heat is called thermal solar energy. Production of thermal solar energy is more cost effective than the photovoltaic cells method mainly because here you can convert up to 50-80% of the sun’s energy as opposed to PV which converts only 15%. This is because, unlike PV, with thermal solar, energy is not lost for conversion.
Solar energy isn’t cheap. It is almost four times costlier than energy produced using conventional methods. Things, however, should improve in the near future. More and more companies are now investing in the production of solar cells. The competition alone should drive down the cost.