Roof tops of Small Business: India’s Solar Energy Secret Weapon

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That renewable energy is one of the predominant ways to cut down green house emissions and save the planet from the disastrous consequences of global warming is something that environmentalists have been stressing on for close to three decades now. Unfortunately, that has not been enough to make industries aware about what they are doing when they indulge in a no- holds bar exploitation of fossil fuel. Coal and petroleum mining has been at an all time high as has been their usage. Our indiscriminate use of fossil fuel has finally started to show its ugly side and yet, it has still left a large section of the population undeterred as they refused to be held accountable for what they are doing to the planet, for the sake of what might happen to their business.

Small businesses already have options for machinery loans and solar panels can be covered under them as well. The promise of short term gains outweighs the long term consequences of its affect on the environment and it was only when the cost effectiveness of using renewable sources of energy had also been highlighted, did people start using it more and more, and today, many major industries have started doing so, solar energy being the most predominant form of renewable energy source throughout the world. Small businesses in India have now also joined this “movement” and today most businesses can be seen to have their own solar panels installed on their rooftops.

If and when asked what made them make the switch from fossil fuel electricity to solar generated, their answer is cost- effectiveness. Small businesses in India have to struggle with a lot cost related issues in the initial days of starting the business. Rent for the space cannot be cut down and nor can the cost of raw materials be reduced. The workers have to be paid as would the transportation to carry the finished items to the market. While business loans take care of these costs, it is never a bad idea to look for ways to be more cost effective. In such cases, production costs can be cut down and one of the departments of doing so is by cutting the electricity costs and installing the solar panels have meant that they now have to pay about one- third of what they were paying before. Added to that is the advantage of having one’s own electricity production and one does not have to depend on the main grid for power.

The production can go on without fail even when the entire region is suffering a power cut and nor does one have to worry about generator installation. The current central government seeks to achieve 100 gigawatts of solar installation by the end of 2022 and of that about 40 gigawatts would come from rooftop installations. Small businesses in India have now started to thrive and currently contribute about 2 trillion dollars worth of the country’s economy and yet are themselves plagued by high electricity costs or having to pay for diesel generators to keep their work running. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance research, small business suffer from gathering adequate capital but with a new avenue of cutting costs opening up with solar power, they are sure to have more capital in their hands.

Even Orb, a company that specializes in installing solar panels has reported that on an average they are fixing about 200 kilowatts of installation for a small business that is double the amount from only a year ago. Moreover, solar power prices in India have fallen to 2.44 rupees a kilowatt- hour and that is huge incentive and it is at par with the best rates in places of US an Australia. The World Bank too is doing its bit by offering a loan of $ 625 million to enhance the rooftop solar program in India and of them the majority has been sanctioned to hospitals, educational institutes and small business in India. Financers like Bajaj Finserv are also offering equipment financing for small business and installing solar panels for the business can be covered under them.

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