Solar Roofing Worth It in Long Run

Bangalore: While going solar seems to be the perfect solution to put an end to power and global warming woes, there are certain conditions that one needs to look at. This because energy demands should come down and we should be able to use solar power comfortably. Experts say energy efficiency is the first small step before getting into renewable energy.

Bangalore-based SELCO, which provided solar solutions in rural areas of Karnataka, is partnering with IBC Solar in the Max Mueller Bhavan solar roofing project. SELCO CEO Harish Hande says new buildings and satellite areas in Bangalore are good sources to use solar roofing.

Solar roofing is useful for two to three segments of society. One, for households without electricity in rural areas where money is wasted in alternatives like batteries , candles or oil. Solar roofing could solve their lighting issues and the cost can be paid in instalments. The government can also save expenses on transmitting electricity.

The second segment is for places that suffer due to frequent power cuts. Money spent on generators and invertors can be saved. This is applicable in big offices and buildings. In this case, the Sun can be the primary source with a grid supply as a back-up .

A government policy on giving incentives to large roof systems could make the system easier. Any big building that go for such a system will save a lot of power . This power can be used on other important things like industries. Waterheating in Bangalore boomed because the capital subsidy was removed and low interest loans were provided by the government . The solar water heater model is doing well in the city.

People are usually sceptical of the high initial investment for solar roofing. For new buildings, this cost can be added to the mortgage cost of the building so that customers don’t face the financial pinch.

Key is in prioritizing:

KREDL managing director V P Hiremath says solar roofing is a great idea if you have enough money. “Innovations in solar energy are happening every day, but the cost is prohibitive. I don’t know if this model will work. It will take years to recover the cost. It is definitely a longterm solution for power crisis, but we can see if the model works only after two or three years,” he says.

Many energy experts consider energy efficiency to be the first step before getting into renewable energy. Solar roofing is a great idea but the important thing before installing one is to have an energy efficient building, according to Minni Mehrotra, research associate at Teri. “Many buildings in Bangalore are not energy efficient. If you have an energy efficient building then you have already reduced your energy demand to a great extent. Then relying on renewable energy becomes easy. Solar roofing is costly and unlike water heaters, the payback period can be long,” she explains.

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