Why is Solar still not a Popular Household Application or a Business Commodity 

It is 2021 and cynical people are still talking about the potential disadvantages of solar energy. These critics believe that the energy desired to form these solar panels in itself can not be sourced through renewable energy as a whole.

Definitely, solar is a one-shot opportunity as one can avoid extraneous expenses on diesel generators or UPS batteries. A spokesperson for the ministry of Power is reported saying that if IMF does not review its ordain to increase the electricity tariff this summer, then people might opt for solar on their own. However critical, no one can deny the extremely supportive financial figures regarding return on investment as a whole.

It is for this reason a large amount of captive solar plants are being installed. If the financials are so promising and most of the people aren’t afraid of digging deep into ethical dimensions of solar panel manufacturing (as highlighted), to akhir Pakistan me solar plates (Panles) lagwanay ka rujhan kyun nahin hai? 

Well, there are reasons that render opting for Solar as a third-class option (while it being the first in the mindful) to some:

A. Load Calculation and Three-Phase Connection

Technically, load calculations aren’t really hard. The fact of the matter is that the prosumer sometimes includes peripheral loads and neglects essentially desired working loads. This in turn makes the quote look heavy on the pocket. A non-technical salesperson eager to make a sale would upsell a system without letting the client know about the catch, that is, the redundancy does not mean that you would go off-grid. Especially, this happens when the customers assume generation during the night and silly thoughts like having a twenty-four-hour backup without enhancing the corresponding amount of solar panels. Also, the three-phase connection does not fall inexpensive rate bracket. It saves you plentitude on hidden MDI penalties.

B. Will net metering go away?

One of the major concerns of those opting for solar is that will they be able to monetize the units after all the adjustments have been made. They believe to be installing a plant is more of an investment against the necessity of their daily power consumption. The fact is that the Distribution Generation license is for at least seven years and more importantly it renews automatically without the intervention of the installer party. Most people focus on getting air conditioners powered by solar. But does your air conditioner run regularly throughout the day? So understanding your requirements first is the key. Majorly, this is a concern for business owners and this is escalated by the local power engineer or plant operator as they have vested interest to get the owner their solar solution by himself from commercially available off the shelf products and knowing that the individual can not directly achieve a net-metered connection.

C. DIY Solar Panels and Youtube

There is an ample amount of product review videos and tutorials available that overwhelm and often confuse the decision-maker. The multitude of opinions, therefore, revolves around the one-time experiences of individuals who proclaim to be masters of the technology right after they followed suit of someone before them and the cycle continues. The bright side is there is still an element of promotion of solar through this DIY mode which mostly suits off-grid applications where the load is minute and system capacities are overly designed. Obviously, there are authentic accounts of information flowing as well. But largely, the failure is evident in the shape of coverups or malpractices as exhibited in most of the installation videos. A sound mind can catch such flaws and avoid the technology due to bad influence.

D. Cost controlling and Internal Wiring

The solar system is the wise decision if you have a nice open-to-sky roof without tall buildings in the surrounding. Not, if one does not optimize the space and does not follow shade mitigation strategies. But in order to prevent costs, people do not go for semi-raised or raised structures. Even the inter-row distances are so short that front rows pitch dark the panels behind them. Keep in mind proper gauge will always cost you three times than a normal ready-made structure that people sell. Faulty installation, poor technical design can lead to low system results and can result in more serious issues such as fire or short circuits. Also, people do not like to get their wirings addressed. Since solar generates energy in bursts, evidently, weaker wiring can not afford high amplitudes of current consistently traveling through old wiring at the establishment. Since people in the subcontinent have a bargaining mindset and usually they fixate the budgets beforehand, it is well understood that they are likely to not pay for the wiring costs and expect it as part of the installer courtesy. Now, those of the freelancers or struggling companies that do provide these free-of-charge favors would certainly have to compromise on quality one way or the other.

E. Fake Products and Domestic Solar Retail Shops

Local shops or individuals are pasting stickers on low wattage panels to show them higher ones. Desi products have a limited life span of 10 years. The ROI is delayed due to low efficiency. They occupy more space for the same wattage of panels due to the low fill factor. There is limited or no warranty. Hence, can’t be legally net metered. Refurbished/smuggled inverters and panels are being sold with zero or very low after-sales services. Mostly, the PVT limited companies often provide lithium-ion batteries which have a life span of 10 plus year against lead-acid, etc which has only 6 months warranty. Meanwhile, the latest billing mechanism is net metering, which allows you to sell back excess electricity. For this AEDB gives license to registered companies only which offer tier-one original equipment. An individual can not offer you net metering.

F. After-sales Issues

Actually, all that matters while deciding a cheaper or an expensive solution is the efficiency and the warranty plus after-sales services. Even the clients are adamant about cleaning the panels. They won’t pay for services charges and thus making it a difficult business opportunity for businesses. Also, branded companies offer after-sales services and monitoring for your system while the desi companies just install your system and disappear (which makes solar less probable). You should always opt for a turnkey solution along with the best after-sales services as it is very unlikely that an individual will be available for after-sales even after 2 to 4 years.

Related: Frequently Asked Solar Energy Technology Questions by Business and End Users

Zorays Khalid

I am Zorays Khalid the CEO of Zorays Solar Pakistan.

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