How innovative Solar Energy Concepts feed the Poor in India
Who is not familiar with solar energy? Humans have been so far exploiting non-renewable energy resources for various purposes at a rapid pace since ages and as a result of that, all the fossil fuels are almost to an extent of getting exhausted. It gets more expensive and difficult to find new resources, lobbying allows companies to drill in highly preserved areas, destroying the last natural habitats and native lands on this planet. It is now at the time to face reality and to start the usage of the renewable and non-exhaustible source of solar energy to its maximum before the hard known side effects of climate change make our all lifes impossible.
After all Production of Solar Energy is quite easy and straightforward
The technology that is used in the production of solar energy is classified into two categories depending upon how they capture solar energy and convert them into solar power:
- Passive Solar
Passive solar techniques include selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light-dispersing properties and construction of rooms to improve air-circulation, orienting space to fully use sunlight.
- Active Solar
Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic systems, concentrated solar power and solar water heating to harness the energy.
- The Roof System
As the name suggests, it the method in which “Solar Panels” are installed on the roof of a building to capture solar energy. The energy captured via solar panels is converted into solar electricity using Photovoltaic (PV) technology. PV solar panels are used as they are long-lasting & efficiently convert the solar energy into electricity.
The main issue that needs to be taken care of is the site on which the system is to be set. An ideal site should have no shade on the panels especially during the prime time i.e. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In short, there should be no trees to cause shade on the solar panels.
- Thermal Solar Energy
This is the system in which heat of the sun is captured and transferred to some other medium – usually liquid. This type of energy is used for solar water heaterand solar thermal power stations that produce steam, which then drives huge turbines to generate electricity.
Solar energy is the cleanest and safest form of energy that is at the moment around here – there may come better ones up in future, but at the moment this is the best in our reach. There are no dirty spills or radioactive leftovers. Solar Energy has deserved to be called “beneficial for society and environment”. We have reached the point where nice talk is not a choice anymore. Our world is devastated and we all must now consider this energy form to produce electricity as it is the most non-exhaustible and cleanest source of energy around. Let us take a look at the benefits of Solar Energy:
- The first & foremost benefit of solar energy is of course that it’s the cleanest form of energy and found in abundance. – Solar panels are recyclable, even though there is not yet a market for solar panel recycling, since most of the first solar panels installed in the 80’s still chew out a good amount of electricity
- Solar energy panels require low maintenance cost and effort – After the installment of solar panels, there is only a yearly maintenance and the cleaning costs to keep them working on maximum capacity. So, basically it is just one-time investment and full-time benefits.
- Solar energy is consistent and forever source of energy. The sun rises and will rise daily no matter what we do. So, we don’t have to worry about anything. Weather forecasts help to predict when there is plenty of energy.
- The best part is that there is requirement of very low space for the installation of the solar panels. Mostly, people prefer to install them on the rooftops as it saves the space and sunlight can be captured properly.We have surely no scarcity of rooftops anywhere in our overpopulated world.
- Solar panels once installed last for about 25 years and solar converters last for about 10 years. Once installed, you are free for 10-20 years and will be having free electricity. Even the Battery technology makes so huge steps, that it is not a dream anymore to run our society soon on 100% renewables.
- The Energy Prices drop since Solar Energy hit the market. In 2016 Solar Energy became the first time ever – the cheapest form of electricity on our planet. Even coal companies start now building Solar Parks. This fact actually speaks for itself.
In the past 2-3 years, people from all over the world have become aware of the environmental issues and are opting for such clean sources of energy. Solar heaters, solar lights, solar battery chargers, solar cookers etc. are being used by people in their homes. And, it is the duty of us all to keep the environment clean and to switch to such clean sources of energy – if possible.
In India as well, many people are trying to take maximum advantage of this forever and constant source of energy. One of the greatest mega kitchens of India which prepares meals for tens of thousands of visitors daily uses Solar energy – that’s right – This is by far the best example that can be cited to prove how powerful this source of energy can be and how people over the world get innovative if there is a need that has to get fullfilled.
Worlds biggest solar Kitchen – Sri Sai Sansthan Prasadalya
Shirdi Sai temple, which draws thousands of devotees every day, has the world’s largest Solar System Project for community cooking installed in 2014. With 73 solar dishes each of 16 sq meter size, the total steam generation capacity of this project is 4200 kg/day. Food is cooked for around 40,000 individuals every day in the Kitchen. More than 2,5 tonnes of rice is cooked through this plant every day.
The iconic Saibaba temple in Shirdi stands tall in its grace of being the holy place, quite literally. With digital signboards reading, ”What you have in your platter is not mere food. It’s Prasada of Shri Saibaba. Please don’t waste it” and the tables being occupied at the drop of an hat and the hot meal being served to the devotees, this is a view that is worth being a part off.
The 11,550 sqm dinning hall in the temple premises has started serving free meals to devotees since January 1 /2014. Earlier there was a nominal fee of Rs 1o (0,15$) This has fetched the temple the tag of being the Asia’s largest kitchen providing free food to all, as opposed to Asia’s largest solar-energy driven kitchen.
Free food to all was one of the basic teachings of Saibaba. When he lived in Shirdi, he used to cook food and distribute to the people. Taking the cause of service for all, the trust has continued with this mission.
Dr Suresh Hawre, chairman of Shri Saibaba Sansthan, India
Recently this Temple won the Concentrated India Solar Thermal (CST) and India Solar Cooker Excellence Award from the ministry of non- conventional energy sources in India.
Solar is not only to be used to power whole cities, realized in huge parks far away from you in deserts. Many countries, all forward in Europe, like Germany, have very successful clean energy projects in citizen hand, where every house owner tries to cover his roof tops with solar panels, to help keep the environment clean an the electricity prices down. Germany did shut down all its Nuclear reactors just a few years ago thanks to its citizens solar love.
We all have a responsibility to do something about the urgent problems our planet faces – the technologies are out there. If you start a business or build a home, maybe you should think about a small investment for a long term profit for you and your environment. – Go solar!