“Solar in Box”: A Simple, Plug-and-Play Option for Homes
If you are looking for solar solutions to power your house, a range of solar home lighting systems is now available across key e-commerce portals, in all major metros as well as in tier II & III cities in India.
I have recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who lives in Gurgaon and faces frequent power outages. She has been thinking about buying a solar home lighting system. We discussed all the new products available, their features and cost. It made a lot of sense for her. However, I kept wondering, if such solutions are available, then why aren’t solar home lighting systems much more widely sold, like smartphones?
In part, it is a question of awareness: What options are there? How do they work? What can they do? And how much do they cost? How to chose amongst different types of solar solutions? It’s not easy. In this blog, we want to showcase solutions to you and try and help you figure out what works for you. To begin with, we want to look at a product by Kirloskar.
You Can Power Your House With a Solar Home Lighting System
Kirloskar’s solar home lighting system (HLS) unit houses a solar panel, 3 LED bulbs with 3 meters of cable each, a charge controller unit with batteries, a universal mobile charging cable, 2 extra fuses, 5 meters of charging cable, and an AC adapter, packaged in a compact manner. The solar kit also has a built in USB port which can cater to the need of charging all the 5V gadgets like smartphones, MP3 players, and tablets (including iPad).
Once you fully charge the battery using the solar panel that comes with the unit, during usage with one bulb, the system runs up to 15 hours and with all the three bulbs on, it lasts for about 4-5 hours.
The battery is not lead-acid (LA) but of the modern lithium-ion kind. Where the LA batteries have an average lifespan of about five years; lithium ion batteries have an estimated longevity of 10 years – half the frequency of LA battery replacement. When used up, both types of batteries can and should be recycled by returning them to a dealer, although due to the long history of LAs, there are presently more recyclers for LAs than the lithium-ion ones. This company is among the first few ones to use lithium-ion batteries in their residential off grid applications. The technology costs a little extra. Each unit is priced at INR 6,499 which is around 20 % higher than average comparable products available in the market.
Kirloskar offers service but no replacements during the one year warranty period. Since its launch, the feedback from end consumers have been satisfactory, leading to its higher demand in leading metros and rural parts of India.
Use It At Home and Outdoors
Those of us living in metros, such solar lighting products will mainly be used as a backup source. But in rural areas people are inescapably drawn towards reliable and robust off grid solutions to carry on with their daily lives.
Kirloskar’s HLS unit is lightweight and packaged in a compact manner, making it an appealing option to carry while camping/ trekking. It is also ideal for lighting shops or multiple rooms in a rural household. And in the wedding season, this could be your thoughtful and unusual wedding gift.
I see value for the money in Kirloskar’s HLS, which is compact and has used good quality components. It will probably last you longer than the cheaper alternatives available in the market.
- 10 Wp Solar panel
- Charge controller unit along with batteries
- 3 W LED bulbs (110 lumens per watt)
- Battery Type: Lithium Ion (7.4 V/6600mAh)
- USB Charging port output: 5V / 1A
- System back when fully charged: 14 – 15 hrs with 1 LED bulb ON; 8-9 hrs with 2 LED bulbs ON; 4-5 hrs with 3 LED bulbs ON
Tip: When the product is not in regular use, remove the fuse for longer battery life.
INDIA GOES SOLAR Rating:
– Functionality: 4 out of 5
– Durability/quality: 4 out of 5
– Warranty/support: 4 out of 5
– Innovativeness: 3 out of 5
– Design/looks: 4 out of 5
– Price: 3 out 5