India receives sunlight almost 12 months in a year and the energy expectation from solar gadgets is very high due to this. Yet when you think of energy from the sun, you most probably think of solar water heaters or rooftop solar pv plants. Those are the two types of solar energy harnessing techniques which are chiefly promoted in India. These are the two primary options for solar energy for every household so let's cover them first.
Solar Water Heaters:
Solar water heating technique is very old and quite simple, you keep a pot of water in the sun and it heats! The water heating plants are just sophisticated connections of plumbing and solar heat capturing parts so that you can enjoy uninterrupted hot water with utilising minimum possible area on your roof. This technology has been developed over the ages and the solar water heating plants today work at such high efficiencies that you would get hot water even in rainy weather.
Extended use of these is to heat the water in swimming pools so you have warm water in the pools without using energy from the grid.
Rooftop Solar PV Plants:
Coming to rooftop pv plants, they also work on a age old science on the movement of electron in semi-conductors when a photon from the sun hits them. Same as the solar heaters, the new solar pv plants work on the same formula but are very sophisticated and also designed to take out maximum energy per sqm of you roof. You can learn more about them here and 3 reasons why you should invest in them here.
Other then these usual options, there are some other forms of solar energy harnessing machines which you can use for your household.
Solar Air Conditioners:
They are exactly what the name suggests. As your conventional air conditioner uses electricity to cool the room down, these air conditioners use the suns power. Don’t confuse them with installing a rooftop solar plant and then powering the normal AC through it.
To explain it simply, the compressor unit which is installed outside one of it’s task is to heat the coolant in the circuit. Yes, it may sound counterintuitive that the compressor increases the temperature and pressure of the coolant but higher the temperature of the coolant in the outside unit, cooler it is inside the room (You cannot go on increasing the temperature and pressure ratio infinitely for more and more efficiency, there are certain formulas in play - but you get the picture). So, solar air conditioners take advantage of the suns heat and increase the temperature of the coolant taking the load off the compressor which would had consumed electricity to achieve this.
Solar RO system:
RO or reverse osmosis process is used in processed food industry for various applications to maintain the taste and proportion of nutrients put in. But at home, they are widely used for cleaning water. It has the potential to even extract drinkable water from saline water input. the only downside is that they require a lot of energy to achieve this. Solar RO Systems, basically generate electricity required to run the RO system from the sun using pv technology and can give out pure drinkable water. Advantage of this system is that it can be installed at any remote villages in India to make drinkable water even when there is no dependable grid supply.
Solar cookers are made to concentrate the heat of the sun on a small area to “cook” the food placed there. It’s construction is mainly of high reflective mirrors on all sides which concentrates the solar heat. Old people are familiar with this product as due to unavailability of other sources to cook in those times this product was very famous. Nevertheless of the old tech, this device has the capability to save a lot of energy which is required for cooking.
Solar Mobile Chargers and gadgets:
There are thousands of such solar gadgets in the market now a days, which have a very sophisticated enclosures with a small solar module on top to charge the device. This charged energy stored in a battery is then used to charge mobile phones, light a led light, even power a radio or multi functionality in one. For everyone trying to shift towards solar, these are the most inexpensive types of solar devices.
Most importantly then other, harnessing solar energy saves environment and help reduce global warming. Humans have been exploiting the energy from fossil fuels for years now which has been destroying our plant due to the emission from such plants. Harnessing Solar energy through its various forms has the potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel. Yes, the fact that a lot fo fossil fuel is required to manufacture and transport the solar components is true but when you opt for a good and reputable renewable energy company, the long life of the products help save more carbon release than it was required to make the product.