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Preventing a rise in non-renewable, on-grid energy demand and empowering the striving lower class through domestic solar power



As India's middle class – currently counting 300 million people – is expected to double by 2025 [1], the energy demand is expected to rise tremendously as more and more households will be able to afford energy demanding household appliances. This is related to two major problems:

- High energy consumption:
Already 39% of the overall energy consumption are accounted to the residential sector.
Within the residential sector, 36% of the energy demand is due to Cooling/Heating alone – while only 6.8% of the population own an air-conditioner.
Further major consumption is due to lighting (31%), kitchen appliances (19%) and entertainment (13%) [2, p.7]

- Unreliable energy supply:
In many areas, electricity is not readily available at all times and power outages of 6-8 hours a day are frequent. Particularly rural areas are disadvantaged by the grid, but also urban areas suffer from a fluctuating energy supply. In some cases, there may be no power left for other appliances as air cooling is run continuously to make everyday life bearable during extreme heat events that may reach up to 120°F [3].

As the middle class is rapidly expanding and the spending power of many households goes up [1], they will soon be intensifying the use of energy consuming appliances and purchasing new ones, thus vastly increasing their energy demand and consumption. There are two groups currently identified as India's lower class who will become India's huge new middle class: so-called "Seekers" and "Strivers" [3]

Current cooling technologies are not very wide spread, they are expensive and have high energy demand, utilizing fossil fuels and increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

If an entire middle class – expected to reach 600 million people by 2015 – adopted western cooling habits, that would have very severe impact on the environment and India's power grid probably would not even be able to help it.

We propose to power home appliances by solar, empowering Indian households to own home appliances that increase their quality of life, health, education and other social co-benefits, especially within the air cooling appliances sector, in order to help them adapt to a warming climate and more frequent heat events, while decreasing the existing energy consumption from fossil fuels and preventing the demand from growing further, thus facilitating climate change mitigation.

Our solution – as a first step – is the SolarBreeze Cooler, an affordable, off-grid, portable cooling alternative. It utilizes solar power to operate indirect evaporative cooling within a heat exchanger, to reduce the temperature of air entering a room. The consumer thus benefits from efficient cooling as well as significant long-term savings as there are no running costs associated with SolarBreeze due to being powered by renewable energy.

This plan is a work in progress but could be easily expanded to other home appliances and technologies.


Which proposals are included in your plan and how do they fit together?

Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab

Based on our estimated market penetration it will be possible to achieve 2566 tonnes CO2e in the first year of production.  India is predicted to add on average 8% of the energy capacity annually which will create additional CO2e. India is a developing country that will be improving its accessibility to the conventional fans and will expand on average of 1-2% per year. Predicted uptake of the domestic appliances is expected to grow 1-2% a year which will cause risk of additional 285483 tonnes of CO2e within the next 5 years.

The growth of air conditioning markets will lead to increased energy requirements for usage as well as manufacturing related emissions. Refrigerants such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are often used in the construction of air conditioners. Poorly designed, badly maintained or improperly disposed units can release these HFCs and lead to further emissions into the atmosphere. In addition, energy demand for residential air conditioners is projected to increase more than 30-fold, from approximately 300 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2000 up to 4,000 TWh in 2050. It is estimated that a potential 1,200 GW of electricity production could be avoided by improving global air conditioner efficiency, thus preventing up to 0.5 degrees of global warming alone. Reductions could be substantially higher if there was a global shift to renewable energy powered cooling systems such as SolarBreeze.

What are the plan’s key benefits?

Our plan includes both climate impact and social co-benefits through the corporate culture of the company inspired by the principles of social business.

CC Mitigation:
-Use of solar energy, which has no associated operating emissions
-Supply chain, manufacturing and distribution model designed for the lowest carbon footprint, including using upcycled materials where possible
-Technology does not require any refrigerants or coolants and thus has no associated emissions from chemical components

CC Adaptation:
- It provides an affordable and accessible technology to provide cooling to allow individuals to better cope with periods of hot weather. The reduction in ambient temperature provided by SolarBreeze Cooler will allow users to better deal with warmer temperatures and increased extreme heat events by keeping their living quarters cool, which will have beneficial impacts on health and productivity.

What are the plan’s costs?

In order to facilitate the production and distribution of the SolarBreeze Cooler, we would require a capital investment of 61,653€ until break-even. These would cover the cost of sales, gross margin and operating expenses.

What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?


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