Power failures and power cuts are unusual in Western countries. Unfortunately we have had more than our fair share in the last few years due to shortage of electricity. To keep computers running is relatively easy with UPS’s and batteries, but to keep the air conditioning running is more challenging. Since it is much warmer here and we can’t develop high quality software unless we can keep the office reasonably cold.
During last year we had in average two hours scheduled power cut per day as well as one full day. Unlike most other IT companies we had not invested in any diesel generator to manage work while there are power cuts. Instead we had a big UPS with batteries which meant that we could manage up to 4-5 hours. This has been sufficient since power cuts was until the last year relatively rare and normally not longer than one hour. But during the warm season after 2 hours of power cut the indoor temperature may well reach 36 degree centigrade. We did not favour buying a diesel generator and instead we decided to invest in solar panel with battery backup on our roof.
We are now more or less completely independent of external power during day time and can continue business as usual even during full day power cuts. During power cuts the air conditioners in our conference rooms will not work and to extend the time we can run we may increase the thermostat a couple of degrees. Luckily for us we have sunny weather most days a year. But even during cloudy days and evenings we can normally manage up to at least 4 hours without any problem.
Was it a good investment. Well if you calculate ROI it will take a lot of years to pay off the investment, it is true that we get 25 years warantee on the solar panels themselves, but batteries must be replaced every 5 years. But since we can continue working even during power cuts, the real take home is from that we continue working as usual and compared to investment in diesel generators this is probably a more attractive investment. However since we were forced to change our air conditioners to a model which could work together with inverters. We have actually reduced our electricity consumption. When taking this into consideration, it is actually an investment which will pay off over the years to come.
However since a significant part of India’s electricity is produced in thermal power stations using coal, the positive effect on the environment will be significant. Our carbon footprint has been significantly reduced thanks to our investment in renewable energy.