As the use of solar energy is gathering pace, experts have come up with ideas to guide people on its usage.

T.N. Sivakumar, former professor and electrical consultant, explains that consumers who want to install solar panels at homes have two options - one is to connect the solar panels to the inverter and the battery and use the stored energy, and the other is to connect the panels to the inverter and connect this system directly to the conventional power connection that comes into the house.

An export meter should be installed to estimate the solar energy supplied to the grid connection through this. The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) should start permitting it, he says.

The investment will vary with the capacity of the panels and the battery.

“It is like buying a car. Investment depends on how much one wants to spend,” says Mr. Sivakumar. It is mandatory that the battery for a solar system has a minimum five-year guarantee. There are batteries that have a 10-year guarantee too. When the government starts implementing the generation-based incentive, it will motivate more to go in for solar systems at houses, he says.

Architect Kamalhassan Ramaswamy suggests that apart from rooftops, solar panels can be installed on the walls or on the west or south-facing façade in a building.

“It is possible to integrate the solar panels with the building.”

In the case of new buildings, solar panels can be used as rooftops for car parks or garages, instead of constructing a roof and installing the panels on top of it. This will bring down the building cost, he says.

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