Solar Powered

Over the last couple of days solar panel engineers have been arriving at here in Kumily to gauge the possibility of installing solar panels as well as examining the solar tubing water heating system to increase its efficiency. This involved the measuring and examination of various areas including the open rooftop of the All Spice Restaurant and the wide expanse of organic plantations, including the area cultivating ginger root, turmeric, and two varieties of yam: the typical sweet potato and the elephant yam.

Our team of engineers including Suresh and Santosh listed the various outlets of energy in the resort to help the solar paneling engineers estimate the input that could be provided as a supportive energy source. This included the fans, plug outlets, and the CFL or compact fluorescent lamps that are a very low 6W (watts). The solar paneling engineers mentioned that the last project that they had worked on was quite a large one, which involved a 65kW power source that took approximately six months to complete. As a reference, the nearby 25 meter high power line, which is provided by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), is an 110kW power source. It has not yet been determined how the space can be utilized here and how much wattage it will be able to harness from the power of the sun because as I’m quickly learning, it is a long and complicated process.

The sun shining atop the Western Ghats

According to a program I recently watched on The Discovery Channel, which discussed various sources of renewable energy from geothermal to wind and even tidal power, ten more times energy hits the earth from the sun that humans can harness than is required for energy consumption needs. This is a staggering amount. There is an abundance of sunlight in Kerala, but there are also the intermittent rains and sometimes-long stretches of rainy monsoon weather which prevents sunlight from reaching through the clouds. However when it is sunny, simultaneously, the most power is needed for cooling purposes, which is what is termed as a “good match”. Hopefully the world will continue to turn to solar energy sooner rather than later, but of course, this is very reliant upon political direction to make it economically viable and reasonable to be able battle nonrenewable energy sources.

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