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Future of Energy: Rent-to-Own Solar Power the Answer to Free Electricity?

Sep 11, 2016 05:16 AM EDT
Costa Rica Uses 100 Percent Renewable Energy For A Record 75 Days
GUANACASTE, COSTA RICA - MARCH 26: A worker cleans the panels in a solar power park run by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) as the power company has managed to produce all of the electricity for the nation from renewable energy sources for more than 80 days straight on March 26, 2015 in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The milestone has been reached with the use of hydroelectric power plants and a combination of wind, solar, and geothermal energy.

(Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Canadian entrepreneur and his company made an innovative yet less expensive solar power system that might be an answer to free electricity. In some places in India, enterprenuer Paul Needham's "rent-to-own solar" from Simpa Networks are already being used, and so far, with good results.

According to Smithsonian, Needham's version of solar power system composes of a 40 watt solar panel, a 26 amp-hour battery, two LED lights, a 15-watt outlet for appliances and two ports to charge or power two LED lights.

All of these will be operated using direct current (DC). A meter, which looks like a car battery, has an e-ink readout that illustrates the remaining balance or days left for the power to work. It also has special LED tube lights that's the same size of a freestanding electric fan as well as a card table-sized blue rooftop panel that is positioned toward the sun.

The entire system costs $270 and can be bought one time. However, some customers prefer to do a "pay-as-you-go" contract, where they pay small payments over two to three years, with the end result of them owning the equipment. According to Needham, there are about 20 percent who buys the system outright after six months and it seems like everyone is attracted to the idea that their payments will eventually lead to purchase.

"What we found was that most people wanted to own the equipment themselves; they didn't just want to keep paying to use it," Needham said.

According to a case study conducted by Simpa, there are over 1 billion people worldwide that lack access to electricity. And it's possible that even a billion more has undependable connections, getting only four to 12 hours of power per day but spending 20 percent or more of their incomes to meet this need.

Solar power is a kind of energy that comes from the sun and can be transformed to thermal or electric energy. This kind of energy is widely proven to be the cleanest and plentiful renewable energy as it can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, creating a solar power system will be a big help to the environment. However, there are debates that say that creating a solar power system in your home is expensive as solar panels don't come cheap.

Needham believes that apart from helping India to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and relieve its citizens from relying on its overburdened power grid, his business could play an important in reducing poverty.

India has also answered this green move as they country has started using solar energy as shown in the video below:

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