Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Nothing is Easy

Why isn't solar energy spreading like wildfire in India? Because it is not easy to maintain the solar systems at peak levels. Whereas, one normally does not have to worry about grid electricity once one has a connection, that is not the case with solar electricity. Even if there is a snag in the grid electricity supply, normally a complaint with the service provider solves the problem.
First of all solar panels need to be cleaned of dust regularly. Optimally once a week in cities where dust levels in the air are very high. If this is not done then the dust that settles on the panels reduced their energy absorption efficiency. Now the solar panels are normally at a height on the roof. So this means that one has to expend considerable energy and be athletic and climb on to the roof to clean the panels. The net result is that instead of once a week we end up cleaning the solar panels that we have installed in our office in Indore only once a month and this means we are losing some of the energy production potential. In big solar parks there are mechanical cleaners but then they also consume some of the energy produced for their operation so that too leads to some loss. In most medium sized installations there are people employed to clean the panels as shown below, which then adds to the cost.
We have a passive solar water heater also installed in our Indore house. This operates by glass pipes absorbing the heat from the sun and passing it on to the water inside them which, once heated, rises up to be stored in a drum at the top. The water in Indore is hard and so when it is heated up the calcium and magnesium salts get deposited in the pipes causing scaling. This reduces the capacity of these pipes to absorb energy. A time comes when the scaling is so much that the water does not heat at all. So the pipes have to be cleaned regularly once a year to free them of the deposits. Once again this is not an easy task as the pipes are made of glass and are tightly fitted with washers. In fact an expert plumber is needed to take the pipes out and free them of the deposits. Even so one pipe at least breaks while being taken out and this raises the cost of maintenance. Moreover, the tank to scales but since this increases the insulation it does not matter that much from the heat point of view. But some of the scales get dislodged and make their way through the supply pipe to the taps and clog them up. This too requires a plumber to come and open the taps and take out the scales from them.
Life of course used to be labour intensive before the industrial revolution and the generation of artificial energy from coal and later from oil. However, a few centuries of automated living has rendered us lazy. Moreover, it is possible to hire labour to do physical work but while this labour is easy to get for conventional appliances, in the case of solar this is not so as there are very few technicians who service the small scale solar market.
Thus, implementing solar energy at the small scale level is not only costly but also complicated because there is a lack of qualified technical personnel for repair work. In the face of Government apathy for developing the small scale solar sector and its concentration only on mega solar power projects there needs to be a huge commitment towards cutting down green house gas emissions by the use of solar energy as it is both costly and full of hassles.

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