Every house in India has a unique terrace, with different customers using them differently. While some customers rarely visit their terrace, for others, it is a place integral to their way of life. Consequently, if working with inexperienced solar developers, the 100 sq ft area per Kw required for a solar installation can be a deal breaker for many because it can drastically reduce the free roof area.
Earth 47 team faced a similar challenge at the house of Advocate Abhijeet Awasthi in Jabalpur. Mr. Awasthi has a three storey house and runs a thriving law practice from his home office, leading to a high electricity consumption and making his average electricity bill close to Rs. 10000 per month. Mr. Awasthi saw great potential in installing a solar system to bring this bill down to zero. Subsequently, we recommended a system of 10 kw, which would generate 1200 units per month and meet his requirement. The roof area required for this was 1000 sq ft.
This posed a problem on two fronts- 1) While there was sufficient space available on the terrace, it wasn’t shadow free on account of a home gym obstructing the sun on the terrace 2) Mr. Awasthi wanted the roof to be usable for a terrace garden and wasn’t keen on utilizing the complete area for solar.
Having dealt with similar cases earlier, the team recommended that Mr. Awasthi build a covered shed on his terrace and install solar panels on top of them. This would be a win-win solution because not only would it get rid of the shading issues from the gym, it would also provide protection from the harsh sun, making the future terrace garden usable even during the day. As an added bonus, since the shed would add a layer of insulation between the sun and the roof, it would provide a natural cooling effect for the top floor, reducing day time temperatures by 3-4 degrees, thus providing additional saving on air conditioning bill.
Mr. Awasthi saw merit in this recommendation, especially since the additional cost of 1.2 lacs incurred in building the shed would be recovered through electricity savings in just one year and decided to go ahead with the installation. Earth 47 designed the shed and fabricated it with the help of a local contractor and subsequently proceeded with the solar installation.
An opening was left in the shed to allow the people and panels to easily reach the top.
The installation provided multiple challenges on the safety front due to the lack of a protective boundary wall and slope of the tin shed. These challenges were however swiftly overcome by the experienced team with the use of safety harnesses which ensured they could work peacefully while remaining free from harm.
Once the panels were transported to the roof, the team worked swiftly to fix them to the tin profile sheet with the help of mounting structures made of rust proof galvanized iron, secured with self threading screws. The self threading screws provide a solid grip to the tin roof and ensure the panels don’t move even in the face of strong wind speeds.
Once the structures were in place, the team moved swiftly to attach the panels with the help of rust free anodized aluminium clamps.
Once the panels were in place, the next challenge was to take the wiring and the earthing down to the ground floor, for meter connection and fault protection. Given that the system was effectively now at a four storey height, with no direct path down, this was a challenging endeavor. However, the team accomplished this swiftly with the help of safety harnesses, demonstrating the importance of having the right tools and an experienced team yet again.
With the wiring connections done, the team commissioned the system post completion of formalities with the electricity board and connection of the net-meter. All put together, despite the challenges, the team finished the installation in three days flat- leading to yet another happy customer who is now paying a 90 Rs. electricity bill as opposed to the Rs. 10000 earlier. What’s more the system is helping him mitigate 11 tons of CO2 every year by producing clean energy, making the world a little greener and cleaner for all of us and helping us move one step closer to tackling climate change 🙂