Monday, November 28, 2016

Are you going for a second car ?... think !

Have you  installed your roof top electric generation ?
I could have afforded a luxury car. I never plan a second car as I consider it is improper ISR ( Individual's Social Responsibility) particularly under city's choked roads and pollution. Now a days there is so much talk on CSR -Corporate Social Responsibility. In my opinion there is equally an ISR where every citizen demonstrates that he (or she) does contribute by adding value to the way of life.  
Coming back to the decision of  car purchase,  I decided to settle down for a more fuel efficient car  partly and  invest  in a roof top 2 KW solar power generation unit. I did not go for net metering  to export power to grid due to reports of  long queue of applications  and  ‘unofficial extras’ for approval.  
After installation it is generating 6.5 Kwh to 7.2 kwh per day and totally independent of grid supply.
Our electricity bill has come down by Rs 900 per month since july 2016. We are paying grid the minimum of Rs 120 to 140 to keep a standby system. We retain this for heavy duty appliances like air conditioner, microwave oven etc

A few well wishers and neighbors  wanted to question the wisdom by way of ROR –rate of return. In their point of view annual saving of Rs 10800 for an investment of Rs 2.7 lakhs is just about 4% simple interest. An investment in FD or NCD or Gold ( if not Equity) would be more than double !!
My counter question to them is, does it make them independent of grid for electricity ?
 Look it this way. A solar installation has more than 20 years of life with positive contribution of energy and saving GHG ( green house gases). A luxury car only depreciates with contribution to GHG over the same number of years.  The former makes you self reliant but the latter is subjected to market vagaries like international crude prices and in turn rise in running cost.
Another fundamental question rises when we think of real estate and housing sector. People are willing to invest anywhere between 60 lakhs to several crores for a residential villa or apartment  particularly in metros. Is it too much to expect them to invest in Rs. 3 or 4  lakhs in solar electricity so that they do not become a burden to the power grid ?

The public wealth (or savings) is grossly stored in unproductive ways. What is meant by ‘unproductive’ is that wealth not being utilized for generating more food or water or energy. It is lying in equity share markets, Fixed Deposits  and Gold. To make it productive some government legislation or incentives may be necessary. Now in Karnataka every newly built house should mandatorily install a solar water heater.

As of now there is no incentive for volunteered installations of power generation for self use while the Solar water heaters get Rs 50 reduction in monthly electricity bills.
Energy is more valuable than gold as it is in constant demand by every strata of the society. If governments come forward to acknowledge the savings on investment in power plants by encouraging Roof-top units.This  can be done by subsidizing the battery replacement required once in four years and make the scheme more investor friendly.

This is a good beneficial  way in making people use their wealth in productive self sustaining (public) cause rather than demanding complaining citizens about governments’ inefficiency for lack of power. One can compare the ways of investment as shown below. 

Basis  12000 Km/ year
The car : what I desired
The car  I bought + 2KW Solar panel
Investment requirement
Rs 7.8 lakhs
3.1 Lakhs+ 2.7 Lakhs=  5.8 Lakhs
Petrol consumption
  667 lit (18 lit/km)
521 Lit ( 23 lit/km)
Contribution to GHG#
 1600 Kg CO2
1250 Kg CO2
Power saving ( per year)
  Nil (-2555 kwh from grid)
2555 kwh
GHG by use of electricity
 5360   Kg CO2    
 - 5360 Kg of CO2**
Net  GHG generation
-5710  (6960-1250)
#   Every litre of petrol  releases  2.4 Kg of CO2 in to atmosphere
**Every kwh power generation through thermal power releases 2.1 Kg of CO2

In other words I contribute directly  a Carbon Credit of 5.7 tons per year which can also be a basis for incentive calculation.

Economically looking, any car or vehicle would have lost more than 80% of their value in 10 Years while  the solar panels continue to generate power for another ten years. With inflation, the power tariff  will be higher and the savings will be much larger than what is perceived today. To give example, as per simple inflationary trend of 10% , in 2026 the tariff will be  around Rs 15 per kwh as against the present Rs 6.90 per Kwh. 

What makes me happy is, albeit in a small way, that  I could  avoid  about 5360 Kg CO2 generation through solar electricity and further 350  Kg of CO2 release in vehicle emission  apart from becoming self reliant in my energy need.