Leveraging internet for clean energy, in other words, future of solar is digital.
At SundayGrids, we are building a digital solar platform where you could subscribe to portions of solar panels that we host instead of installing solar on your roof. You receive credits on your electricity bill for the power produced from your portion and that way pay less for power or offset the bill entirely.
How Digital Solar works?
The closest analogy is that with cloud storage (Google Drive/ Dropbox etc) where you could access storage capacity on remote servers; similarly using Digital Solar, you could subscribe to a portion of solar array elsewhere to use offsets from it to save up on your power bill.
Benefits of Digital Solar over Rooftop Solar
As the name suggests, rooftop solar needs…rooftops. That by itself puts solar out of reach for many living in apartments and even those with roof but not large enough to install an array of panels or have roofs that are shaded from nearby trees or buildings. Also, for most people who move cities for work or education, installing rooftop solar is a commitment they are unsure of. Digital Solar, by virtue of being off-site allows everyone to participate regardless of their geographical bounds along with the flexibility to add more capacity unlike a hard installation that is limited by the scope of roof space.
Solar rooftop installation requires site survey, system design, building permits, and the actual installation itself and activation post check-up from survey from DISCOM, all together could take upwards of three to four months to get going. Digital solar projects goes online post their activation stage, which allows you to start generating solar credits within minutes of subscribing.
Cost per Watt:
In a solar project, only around 40%-50% of the cost is incurred by the solar modules themselves. The rest of the expenditure is for the support systems such as mounting structures, inverters etc. Our digital solar projects are built in large aggregates and thus the economics of scale brings the prices down. Moreover, the maintenance of rooftop solar during the lifespan of the system comes around 20% of the initial capital. This cost is completely eliminated from the users end in our digital solar projects.
Rooftop systems are generally linked to the grid instead of a battery backup (adding batteries can make the system considerably more expensive). Because of this, in case of a grid blackout, the panels can’t power your house even if the sun is shining. If you live in an area considerably more prone to power cuts, digital solar makes more sense as they are installed in areas rated high for grid stability and in cases of a local grid shutdown, the digital system still generates power credits as it is outside that region.
And other ways in which both are similar
The differences in digital solar and rooftop solar arises from their distribution mechanism. Rooftop solar is directly linked to your local grid and metered on-site while digital solar leverages the internet to aggregate and for transfer of solar credits. In both, the module technology remains the same and hence are similar in aspects pertaining to the panels themselves.
Photovoltaic modules are solid state energy generators and the absence of moving parts allow for higher system durability without any wear or tear that other turbine based generators have. This means the panels last longer and are less prone to damages. Most panels are rated to last around 20 years, making rooftop solar nearly a permanent addition to your house and in case of digital solar, your subscription to panels are active for 20 years.
Zero carbon emissions:
Using the sun to power is perhaps the most elegant form of energy conversion. Unlike fossil fuels like coal or natural gas which are scarce, power available from sunlight is abundant and sustainable. Power generation and consumption factors in for around 70% of all carbon emissions and transitioning to clean and sustainable sources is critical to solving climate change.