SUSTAINABLE FUTURE WITH SOLAR-POWERED HOMES

There are many reasons why one would migrate to a city; a few of them are better education, jobs and lifestyle. City life has always attracted our young population, but it is not always as glamorous and easy as they show in our movies. You may find the most hardworking people in cities. Not everyone bags their dream job or a highly paid job in cities; some start small and for some, the struggle continues for years. The living expenses are becoming higher and higher in cities around the world. The cost of accommodation in urban areas compels renters to spend a major part of their earnings on housing. Finding a house with all the basic amenities within ones budget could be a challenge. Our cities are usually overcrowded since there is a constant population churn, which leads to a spike in housing demand and price hikes. While certain cities adopt the respective state government rent control policies, imposing the same is not feasible in every city. Apart from paying the monthly rent, the tenants have the burden of paying water and electricity charges. In India, you see two types of property owners. While some of them live on the property with multiple floors and rent a part of their property or home to tenants, others rent out individual flats. To avoid confusion regarding electricity bills, each house comes with a separate meter. It is a well known fact that rent of a property depends on the location and the total area. Not everyone is able to afford both the rent and the extra charges on a monthly basis along with the other fixed, periodic, and/or variable expenses and most of the individuals live on a fixed budget.

Rooftop Solar

A rooftop solar system could give tenants tangible benefits on a monthly basis. A solar-powered house can attract tenants easily and the tenants are less likely to leave homes that are equipped with the most convenient services. This in turn means that landlords do not have to search for new tenants every now and then and even if they have to, highlighting the solar features will make their properties lucrative to prospective new tenants. The installation does not take up much space on the roof and aside from occasional cleaning, the system does not require any maintenance. Rooftop solar requires a substantial upfront investment; however, this can increase the value of the property in the long run. Solar panels lower energy bills helping both the landlord and the tenants. Instead of having separate units for each house, the electricity bill credits can go directly to a single bill. Those who own paying guest accommodation can also benefit from rooftop solar system. Even a partial off-grid solar system helps reduce monthly electricity bill drastically as the solar panels often generate more electricity than your total capacity of consumption and solar is such an energy that you never run out of. Installing solar water heater systems is also another money-saving option for home owners. They are cost effective and usually have a lifespan of over 10 years if maintained correctly. Those who live in apartment complexes are required to pay a monthly maintenance charge apart from the electricity and water bill. This maintenance charge is usually collected for housekeeping and security charges, operation of elevators and lighting used around the building. Solar power can be used to illuminate the common areas in apartments such as corridors, garden, car parking, swimming pools, play area, etc. This can considerably bring down the overall maintenance charges.

There are a variety of outdoor lighting styles available in the solar market now to serve both functional as well as aesthetic purpose. For the working community that usually gets home late in the evening, solar powered lights ensure safety and security. If traditional lighting system is being used, people do not leave the lights on throughout the day and by the time they get back from work, the building is in dark. Even during a power outage, solar lights keep the house illuminated. Many of the latest solar designs have motion sensor and dimming features. This technology helps in extending battery life by reducing the brightness of the light when no motion is detected and giving 100% brightness when there is a movement. Most of the outdoor lights come with in-built battery and are compact in design. They can be used for garden, walking path, stairways, balcony, or terrace. The main advantage of these lights is that they do not require any wiring or special installation and they utilize very less space. There are lights that can be installed on the ground as well as on the walls. Installing these type of independent solar lights are more reliable a choice sometimes because even if one unit fails, others still can illuminate the property since the lights are not interconnected. In many cities, rain water harvesting, segregating food and other waste, banning single-use plastics are made mandatory to bring benefits for the environment. Renewable energy like solar energy is our future and it is important to create awareness amongst citizens to encourage the use of such energy-efficient lighting in their homes to protect our environment for the next generation.

Since the upfront investment for solar powered system is relatively high, there are many financing options available. To encourage people to utilize solar energy, there are subsidy schemes by both the Central Government as well as State Nodal Agencies for installing rooftop solar systems. As per Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, 30% of installation cost is paid by the government as subsidy. After the installation, there are no other expenses for maintenance and in the long run, solar energy system is considered inexpensive when compared to electric generators. Nationalized banks offer priority sector loans of up to 10 lakhs to those planning to install rooftop solar system, which comes under the category of home loan or home improvement loan. For surplus energy generation, the customers can receive net metering credits. If the customers generate 1100 kWh to 1500 kWh per year, they are eligible for generation-based incentive which is Rs. 2 per unit of electricity generated. This scheme helps the customers earn up to Rs 2000 to 3000 per year as generation-based incentive. Receiving support from central and state government is an encouragement for home owners to install solar-powered lighting in their homes. Any assets value will increase with investment and powering the rental property with clean energy systems increases property value. Many countries across the world offer schemes for homeowners to claim local and federal tax credits. In India, to incentivize upcoming entrepreneurs in the solar power market, Government of India has projects in which they can claim depreciation and tax exemptions. If the same can be offered to even residential properties, home owners will be inspired further to go green.