PANAJI: While their neighbours groped in the dark for three to four days at a stretch after Cyclone Tauktae, few far-sighted green citizens with their own rooftop solar hybrid systems were largely unaffected by the power disruption.
In fact, they turned into mini grids and were able to reach out and share the surplus solar power generated by their rooftop solar plants with their neighbours.
Merces resident Madhusudhan Joshi charged his neighbours’ phones, laptops and helped pump water to their overhead tanks too. All this while he continued to use his own appliances at home, including the fridge, washing machine, water purifier etc.
“It’s pollution-free, noise-free, renewable
energy,” he said.
He admitted he paid 50% more for the hybrid system that works as a two-in-one when compared to a regular on-grid system which completely shuts down when the department’s power supply fails. His works both as an on-grid system — supplying excess power back to the grid and nullifying his bills — as well as an off-grid system in case of power failure, where the same solar panels charge his batteries and through a hybrid inverter, power his house.
During the blackout in his area, all the excess solar power generated during the day went to his battery backup instead of back to the grid.
A professor of pharmacology at Goa College of Pharmacy
, Joshi decided to put his lessons on non-conventional and renewable energy into practice when building his house in 2018. His rooftop solar installation has not only allowed him to supply surplus power to the grid and nullify his electricity bills, but he has been receiving credit from the state department too.
“I’m very happy with this investment. Uninterrupted power supply made my life hassle-free over the past week. I didn’t miss out on my routine activities at home and I was also able to help my neighbours to some extent. If I had more ideas, I could have helped them more,” he told TOI, adding that a smart battery monitoring system allowed him to supervise the charge of his battery and consume power accordingly.
Most people have just the on-grid system. The subsidy offered by the government for an on-grid system and a hybrid one is the same, but a combination helps a consumer reduce his bills as well as provides a backup system in the case of power failure, said Anish Sousa who installs solar power systems.
Consumers are not left in the lurch during prolonged power outages and can continue using solar power as long as they ration their supply and don’t consume more than they generate, he added. If Germany can do it, a tropical country and state like Goa
with bountiful sunlight can, too.
In the quiet village of Betalbatim, Eleanor Viegas also didn’t have to stumble for her torch when power supply was cut off on the night of the cyclone — all thanks to her seven-year-old rooftop solar plant.
She too came to the rescue of her neighbour who charged his phone at her house. “I would have been in total darkness for five days and life would have been very difficult,” she said. She is now looking at upgrading her plant after the cyclone experience.
“This cyclone was a big shock to everybody. I’m now trying to update my system to be one step ahead of climate change that we are experiencing. I’ve never seen such wind. It makes one stop and think that you can be left without anything so quickly,” she told TOI.
Hers is an eco-friendly house with natural material, where she tries to live in harmony with the environment. Getting back to nature is our survival, she said.
“I support solar power and we need to have more of it. It’s wonderful to see hotels working on solar power and turning into health resorts. Everybody wants to come to Goa as it’s such a beautiful place. Goa could, in fact, lead the way. It’s all about getting back to nature and that’s really what many had to do during the cyclone,” she said.
Source : https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/goa-during-blackout-solar-power-users-had-their-moment-in-the-sun/82874681