Energy efficiency in the building sector of India through solar and energy storage
Owing to the geography, India holds immense potential for generation of solar energy. The country has about 748 GW of solar potential (considering 3% of the waste land area by solar PV modules). Solar photovoltaics can be utilized effectively to meet the growing power requirements of the country. In India, the second-largest consumer of electricity is the building sector. It accounts for over 30 % of total energy consumption annually.
Eco Niwas Samhita (ENS) 2021 sets minimum standards for energy efficiency and helps accelerate energy conservation efforts towards residential establishments. Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) 2017 provides energy standards for new commercial buildings and acts as a significant tool to curb their energy footprint.
Solar energy generation and usage
Solar energy generation and power calculation can be categorized into off-grid solar PV and grid-connected solar power plants. Solar energy generation on a massive scale i.e. grid-connected is only successfully possible if the government willingly buys back the electricity.
At that interchange, there is cost adjustment and the government grid will always have the backup power for solar to supply to the grid at all times. Otherwise to utilize solar energy, consumer needs battery backup. But, the backup system does not have affordable maintenance and has a short life of 2 years which is not financially viable.
After analyzing the electricity usage graph in the households, it is observed that the energy usage has been maximum when the sun is not readily available (early mornings and evenings). It creates an imbalance between power generation and power usage. The government has to be a hand-holding partner that can support the utilization of power during the non-peak hours.
Building-integrated photovoltaic panels serve not only horizontally but vertically as well. They help increase the area for solar energy generation. These vertically integrated panels do not exhibit efficiency and aren't cost-effective, hence the industry does not show progress towards their usage. Designers are encouraged to come up with innovative building forms which can ensure to create a maximum area for incorporating solar PV cells.
A building rooftop has maximum potential for solar energy generation. In multistoried buildings, the rooftop is only 1/4th of the overall potential of the building. Thus, the surface area for installing photovoltaic cells creates a limitation in solar energy generation.
Mandates and suggestions
Auser must cover the complete roof or maximum possible area while installing PV. According to the GRIHA manual, the mandatory PV use should be 1.5 % of the total connected load. If every house installs PV on the rooftop with a minimum of 1-2% of the total connected load, it can be a great energy-alternative to fall back on in case of an emergency. The incorporation of PV is thus encouraged as it proves to be beneficial to energy efficiency for the building sector and provides a cleaner and safer alternative.