Here is another way forward for renewable energy! Making a marked departure from the conventional system, Basil Energetics Pvt Ltd in 2015, had announced the introduction of their ‘Hybrid Appliances & Smart Grid Controller’. This comprehensive system ensures that a 2 kW solar panel can power a 1.5 tonne air conditioner, one 300 litre refrigerator, five fans, five LED tube lights (4 feet in length and 16 watts each) and eight LED bulbs (6 watts each) during the day.
The Chennai-based company, under the leadership of Chairman Dr R Ramarathnam introduced these super-energy-efficient electrical appliances which will be able to run on electricity and solar panels. The Inverterless solar system will power the appliances. These appliances are soft-starting and hence don’t require a large amount of current during start-up. Basil has also developed a solar controller system that alternates the power supply (to the appliances) between the mains and solar panels, depending on the amount of power generated by the solar modules, says a report in Solar Wind Hydro Energy.com.
A report in The Hindu states, there are many innovative systems that make this possible. In lieu of silicon crystalline panels that are routinely used, Basil uses thin film solar panels. Though efficiency of thin film panel is the same as silicon panel at 25 degree C, the energy yield of the thin film is higher than silicon panels.
“This is because power rating is done at 25 degree C. In India, the outside temperature far exceeds 25 degree C, especially during summer. And for every 1 degree C increase in temperature, the loss in power rating is 0.5 per cent in the case of silicon panels; it is only 0.25 per cent with thin films. So 5 per cent more energy output is achieved by thin film panels,” said Ramarathnam. “Solar panels need light not heat. That’s why they are more efficient in higher latitudes,” he added.
Another advantage with the thin film panel is that unlike silicon panels where power production gets completely cut off even if a small part of the panel is covered by shade, only that part of the thin film panel that is not exposed to sunlight stops producing power.
All appliances are run on panel-produced power when there is adequate power, but when the demand is higher than the power produced, the iGrid runs as many appliances as possible using solar power and the remaining from the grid. During the night, the iGrid draws power from the grid while excess power produced during the day (when all appliances are not used) is fed to the grid. “This management is done automatically,” Ramarathnam said. “A battery can also be connected to the iGrid to run the appliances in the night.” The company has completed 24 projects in a short span of 13 months.
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