India Solar, Wind, Biomass, Biofuels – EAI

Solar Power Vs Diesel Generator

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Yes, we know that solar powered generators are in existence. But are they really effective? Are they useful, economic? Why do we need to opt for solar powered generators when simple, diesel generators are in existence?

1. Cost

People generally prefer diesel generators over solar powered ones due to the initial cost of installation. But if one can sit and think about the future expenses that would be in store, the individual would, without doubt, prefer solar generators. Diesel generators would need a constant supply of fuel – this would cause the investment to pay back itself, owing to the ever-increasing price of fuel. Add to that the amount of time each day or week spent making sure the generator does not run out of fuel, and additional savings can be realized

2. Pollution

The solar generator not only conserves power, but also reduces pollution. The diesel generator would produce continuous noise, whereas the solar generator doesn’t.

3. Efficiency

When using a diesel generator, the device would go on and on, not considering the amount of power consumed. This can be avoided on a solar powered generator. And all you can do at that time is sit and look at all the energy being wasted.

The only drawback with the solar powered generator would be the amount of sunlight the locality receives. Though the system would run on charged batteries, once the sunny season sets away, there are chances of the batteries going dead.

4. Reliability

In warm/hot countries , solar generators are more reliable. But in countries where there is less sunshine and more rains and winds, solar energy doesn’t come in handy. However, in Germany, solar energy is used at a much higher level than in North America. Hence, reliability is not an issue when it comes to solar powered gensets.

Diesel generators, on the other hand, do not have this issue. But if there is a storm or any such disaster, the generators become useless.

Thus, when looking at the investment point of view, solar generators win against the diesel generators.

Here’s an example of one such case where diesel generators have effectively been replaced by a solar hybrid system.

Global solar energy major, SunEdison, in 2012-13, completed the Indian telecom industry's biggest solar installation at service provider Airtel's, Gangaganj Mobile Switching Centre. The solar unit is expected to save around 18,000 litres of diesel annually and more than Rs 5 lakhs/yeear in operating costs for Airtel. A complete case study document is available for download here.

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