Sunday, December 11, 2011


       There is lots of buzz around the concept of green energy,the sources of energy which does not harm nature. But finding a suitable business model for such green energies is a difficult process. The companies are not greatly interested in this due to high cost of production and lack of profitability. So I would like to share some ideas that I felt useful.
       Solar energy is the major player in green energy concept. The industry is still in its early stages so the cost of production of energy is extremely high which makes it almost impractical for small scale application. Another major problem is that the availability of solar energy  is limited to day time when the power requirement is comparatively less. We will have to effectively tackle these issues to make the solar energy a practical solution for energy crisis and atmospheric pollution.
            The cost factor is definetly going to come down as move forward. Cost for new technologies would be always high and it will decrease over years. We can upgrade existing production methods with new efficient methods to reduce the cost of panel. It will take some time for evolution of this solar energy concept. We will have to be patient. Also the cost of other sources are going up. So at one stage they are going to overtake the price for solar energy. Due to the lack of mechanical parts as in generators the solar panels will require less maintenance that means already they have an upper hand in maintenance cost.
            Since the energy produced have got direct relation with area exposed to sun light we require large area of land for large scale production of energy which adds to the production cost. Land is one of the most precious resource of modern days and hence it is difficult to get large areas of free open land and cost of land is high which will add to the price of the energy. Now this is a serious issue. We need to find a proper business model which can run feasibly.

Business model:-
  If power distribution companies can reach an agreement with consumers for using their roof tops and free lands for  placing the solar panels it can reduce the cost for land resources. In return consumers can be given rate cuts for the electricity they are using. The energy so generated can be used to enrich the grid. There are many advantages for such a business model
  1.          Consumers doesn’t have to worry about the cost of panels. It will be handled by power companies.
  2.           Since power is generated near to sight of usage, transmission loss can be heavily reduced.
  3.            Reduction in transmission loss, land cost , along with low maintenance requirements of the solar panels will be beneficial for power companies in long run.
  4.           Consumers can reduce their electricity rates simply by utilizing their rooftops and free lands.        
              Before implementing such a method, we will have to find a way for connecting it to the grid and measuring it to ensure that it is meeting the target. If engineers can integrate this to the digital power meter it can ensure the efficiency of system.

       Another major hurdle in solar energy is its storage. The excess power generated with the help of solar panels have to be stored. Use of chemical batteries for this purpose wont be viable. May be something like refilling of  reservoirs can be carried out if incase there is excess power generated with solar panels.
          There are other energy options like lightening   which is yet unutilized. We cannot predict the amount of energy associated with lightening and also its time of arrival. Its difficult to handle such an unpredictable quantity. But still if we can develop a system which can pass the energy produced during lightening through water to split it to hydrogen and oxygen and then producing energy when required by burning hydrogen that can makeup for energy crisis in the world. I don’t know feasibility of such a system but still it can be given a thought.