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Solar Is The Best Economic Investment, Says Ecologist Who Has Paid Zero Power Bill For Last Three Years

Solar Is The Best Economic Investment, Says Ecologist Who Has Paid Zero Power Bill For Last Three Years
New Delhi: 

“Solar is fantastic; it has made our house self-sufficient in terms of fulfilling its energy needs. Along with reduced energy bills, solar power helps you move towards clean energy”, says 40-year-old Soumya Prasad who has been harnessing the power of solar and has not paid power bills for the last three years. Ms Prasad, who is an ecologist by training and profession, and currently based in Dehradun, believes switching to solar power is one of the best economic investments one can make. When asked what motivated her to switch to solar, Ms Prasad said she has lived in solar powered house since she was 10-year-old.

Also Read: Are You Planning To Switch To Solar? Before You Go Ahead Ensure These 5 Things Are In Place

In a conversation with NDTV, Ms Prasad recalled her early encounter with solar power and said,

My father was one of the earliest manufactures of a solar water heater in the country. We had a solar water heater in 1988 in our home in Bengaluru. He also pioneered rooftop solar installation in Bengaluru with grid connectivity. Though the policy had been announced, it hadn't been implemented and therefore, my father had to battle the electricity board to address connectivity to the grid. My father is a hard core businessman and he argued that investing in solar is by far the best investment he has done in his life.

Also Read: Himachal Pradesh's The Kalgidhar Society Saves Rs. 3.4 Crore Per Annum By Harnessing The Power Of Solar

Ms Prasad had reaped the benefits of solar as a child and had seen its workings up-close, therefore, in 2017, when she along with her family left Delhi and moved to Dehradun, they decided to get a solar rooftop system installed. Ms Prasad further said,

We had purchased a 60-year-old structure in Dehradun that needed renovation, especially the roof had to be fixed. Since we were refurbishing it, we decided to get solar power plants installed and also a rainwater harvesting system. What worked in our favour was our architect Swati Negi who was likeminded and addressed all our issues with minimum investment.

Also Read: This Mumbai Housing Society Fulfills 42 Per Cent Of Its Daily Energy Requirement Through Solar

During the renovation, Ms Prasad invested a little over Rs. 1.2 lakh for 5 kilowatts (kW) plant to meet the energy needs of her house and office spread across 5,000 square feet of land. Ms Prasad informed that back then the Uttarakhand government had a scheme under which they got a 70 per cent subsidy.

She further added,

Our solar power plant is connected to the grid and we draw electricity directly from the grid. Since we got a huge upfront subsidy during installation, we don't get paid for the extra units of energy we generate every month. Like, mostly my father's house generates more energy than their consumption and the state electricity board pays them Rs. 6 for every unit exported to the grid. But, I don't have any regrets about sending extra power to the grid. So far, our energy bills have been zero and we pay only the fixed meter charges.

Ms Prasad shared that the energy needs of the family of three are fairly low but since their office is in the same building, there are always around eight people in the house. The team of ecologists is always working with around five computers in use all the time. The property has three refrigerators, two geysers and a room heater which is used occasionally.

Also Read: Monthly Power Bill Of Just Rs. 130, Here's How A Couple In Kochi Did It

Ms Prasad believes that just getting a solar power plant will not being energy bills to zero. One has to look at their energy requirement and constantly make efforts to reduce their needs. For instance, Ms Prasad has been trying to cut down her energy requirements through architecture. Further explaining the structure of her house, she said,

We bring in more natural light in the house through the right direction of windows and the kind of windows. We never use an air conditioner as the building is naturally cooled. It's the terrible architecture that we follow in cities and the material used in the construction takes a lot of energy. We even charge our electric car (e-car) takes about 10 kW per full charge on solar. We haven't paid any fuel bills in a long time so in a way, we are driving our vehicles for free, said Ms Prasad.

Also Read: Save Power For More Power: Five Easy Ways To Conserve Energy And Be Energy Efficient

The family also owns a solar cooker and hundreds of solar LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) used to light up their garden and porch. Interestingly, LED bulbs are upcycled and made from broken bulbs. Ms Prasad's in-laws have a similar property that draws a monthly energy bill of Rs. 5,000. However, now their house is also under renovation and a solar power plant is being installed.


Solar cooker used by Ms Prasad and her family to prepare food

Also Read: Don't Let These Misconceptions Stop You From Switching To Solar Energy

Sharing advantages of using solar based on her experience and what she has learned from her businessman father, Ms Prasad said,

In three to six years, the investment will be returned back because of little to no energy bills. My father also argued that solar power plants have a life of 20-25 years so it's a long-term investment. Also, you don't need to maintain it regularly, it is self-sufficient. But before you switch to it, do an energy audit of your house, understand your energy needs and based on that install appropriate capacity. And even after that, continue to reduce your energy needs and move towards sustainable living.

Also Read: What Makes LED Lights 90 Per Cent More Energy Efficient And Environment Friendly?

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About The Campaign

About The Campaign

NDTV in partnership with Luminous has launched an awareness campaign ‘Be A Bijli Donor’ to promote the idea of ‘save power for more power’. The idea is to conserve energy today in order to get more power tomorrow.


We inherently know that saving energy results in low energy bills, but we also need to understand that a unit of energy saved today makes it available for people still living in the dark or facing regular power cuts.


Saving power or conserving energy is about knowing the sources of energy, and areas of wastage and thereby eliminating these through technology and lifestyle changes. For instance, a 100 W (Watt) incandescent (ICL) bulb can be replaced with a 9 W LED bulb offering similar performance in terms of light output, but at far lower consumption of energy.


While a 100 W ICL bulb, used for four hours a day, consumes 146 units of energy per year, a 9 W LED bulb requires only 13.5 units per year. Clearly, switching to LED is a smart choice as it provides the same output while consuming 90 per cent less energy.


The focus of the campaign is to instill the idea of ‘save power for more power’ and in order to do so, the initiative will create awareness about energy efficient products and services, smart ways to reduce power consumption, alternate sources of energy like solar energy and the need to conserve energy. The idea is to address the rising need for energy conservation in India.


As part of the campaign, we will highlight the stories of individuals and organisations who are championing the cause of energy conservation by switching to renewable sources of energy, adopting innovations to reduce energy consumption while enjoying the same output.


The initiative will provide a platform for all stakeholders to share their ideas and work towards the common goal of, ‘Save power for more power’.