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The need to substitute diesel with solar is unique to India and a other developing nations whose hunger for energy is not matched by growth in conventional power supply, necessitating large backup power systems , usually in the form of diesel gensets.
While the need for backup power is expected to persist for the foreseeable future (because the industrial power requirements in countries such as India appear to race ahead of the ability of utilities to enhance power generation capacities), one welcome development in this area has been the use of rooftop solar systems to reduce dependence diesel gensets.
This is an emerging area where many solar system providers are still evolving solutions with varying degrees of effectiveness.
What are the key drivers for the Indian industry to look at using solar for diesel abatement?
1. The cost of generating power from diesel is very high – at current diesel prices (Dec 2013), diesel genset based power could cost as high as Rs 18. In some exceptional cases such as telecom towers which also face significant pilferages of diesel, the cost could be as high as Rs 40/unit of diesel purchased.
2. Cost of diesel is increasing all the time while that of solar is decreasing in parallel – solar power from rooftops cost more than Rs 20 per unit just 3 years back. in Dec 2013, it could be as low as Rs 7/unit. In the same time duration, cost of power from diesel increased from Rs 9/unit to Rs 18 per unit. The cost of power from diesel is expected to increase even further in future, while cost of solar power could decrease further over the next few years (though it is unlikely that the cost reductions in solar power would be as steep in future as they have been in the past)
3. Solar power is renewable, sustainable and is green – with all stakeholders (government, industry and consumers) becoming more aware of environmental pollution, industry is constantly on the lookout for green energy solutions – if not as a result of their own conscience, at least as a result of government and consumer pressure.
The above drivers make the substituting of diesel with solar power an exciting and attractive business opportunity. But what is the status of this phenomenon? What are the constraints? Does the final economics look as rosy as it seems in the beginning?
In order to explore this important area in detail, I have put together a series of blog posts.
EAI’s Diesel to Solar Report – The one and only such report in the world
EAI has published a unique report to assist those keen on using solar power to offset their diesel consumption. The Diesel to Solar report is a c0mprehensive guide to implementing a rooftop solar system to reduce diesel consumption for power
Also: Check out an interesting site on solar: Suncyclopedia, the Solar Encyclopedia