Electricity: The Solar Alternative
Energy is required for both urban and rural needs, and for economic development. Energy generation and utilisation can cause a wide range of serious problems if not handled properly. Therefore, energy users and producers share the responsibility to understand the source of energy we are dealing with, use it wisely, safely, effectively and efficiently.
Traditionally we relied primarily on fossil fuel to generate electricity. Our energy problems which accumulated over the last 100 or so years require new thinking. We must never cease in the attempt to develop clean sources of energy, and to remember that our squandering of existing non-renewable sources is only going to cause problems for future generations. Renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic and wind are becoming more important than ever due to increasing electrical energy demand, dwindling fossil and biomass supplies, increasing pollution levels in the environment and associated global warming effects.
Photovoltaic (solar power) is more than another energy source. It’s an energy source that can reduce our reliance on depleting fossil fuel sources (such as coal and gas), reduce our electricity bills, help revitalize sluggish local economies, and reduce pollution levels in the atmosphere. There are many other technical benefits of using photovoltaic in the electricity network such as voltage support and improved distribution efficiency.
With the elimination of Feed-in-Tariff for photovoltaic (PV) systems, businesses may find that installing a PV system will save them thousands of dollars every year. Several studies showed that the return on investment (ROI) is better than 20% in most cases. For example, a 30 kW solar system will generate in its lifetime over 1 million kWh, including degradation over 25 years. This electricity if purchased from the grid would cost over $250,000 at today’s prices. The cost of the PV system is currently under $50,000 giving at least 20% (ROI). In most cases the payback period is less than 5 years. Allowing tax depreciation on the solar equipment will further reduce the payback period.
The solar system not only replaces electricity imported from the grid, but also can contribute to reducing the maximum demand. A 30 kW solar PV system is an excellent investment for businesses using at least 135 kWh/day during peak demand. A 10 kW system is most suitable for a daily load 45 kWh.