Solar Panels for e-Rickshaws

By Snigdha Phatak

e-Rickshaws were introduced in India during the late 1990s. However, this invention didn’t become popular until 2011 when they were redesigned and remodeled. Now, it is easy to spot an e-rickshaw in various metro cities like Delhi and Bangalore.

The current model of e-rickshaw requires regular charging and can work for 5-6 hours on a full charge. Most e-rickshaw owners have installed rooftop solar panels in their homes which are used to charge the e-rickshaw batteries. However, the difficulty with such an arrangement is that e-rickshaw drivers have to go back home every 5-6 hours to recharge the battery. This results in a significant loss in daily revenue.

e-Rickshaw drivers face various other challenges, the most prominent of which is the traveling limitation. Since the battery installed lasts only for a few hours, rickshaw drivers have to give up longer trips. They have to be mindful of the distance they travel per hour. Otherwise, the battery may discharge mid-trip.

How are solar panels for e-rickshaw solving the problem?

These difficulties are the primary reason why solar panels for e-rickshaw are becoming popular. Each e-rickshaw has at least a 30-40 square feet area on the roof. This area is sufficient to install at least two solar panels. With this installation, the driver gets various advantages:

  1. Charging on the go: 

The driver no longer needs to drive the rickshaw home to recharge the solar battery. Instead, he can opt to park at any place without shade. The solar panels installed on the e-rickshaw will charge the battery automatically.

  1. Increased revenue: 

Since the battery can charge without going home, the driver can use the time to take more trips. Installing a solar panel on an e-rickshaw can increase the income by 30-40%.

  1. Longer ferries possible: 

The rickshaw driver can also opt to take longer trips without worrying. It allows them to become completely independent of any factors and take ferries according to their requirements. With a solar panel installed on the rickshaw, the vehicle can travel twice as much distance per day!

These are only three advantages of finding the right solar panel for an e-rickshaw. However, the question remains, how do you select a solar panel for your e-rickshaw? Don’t worry, we have the answer for you.

How to install a solar panel on an e-rickshaw?

The solar energy generated by the solar panel should be enough to turn on the rickshaw and drive it at average speed. Also check the solar panels price before buying in the market. Since the average speed of the rickshaw is between 30-50 km/hour, the battery should contain sufficient energy to drive the rickshaw for 5-7 hours. 

Therefore, the solar system you install on your rickshaw makes a major difference in its efficiency. The installation of a solar panel for an e-rickshaw can be broken down into several steps. Follow these and you’ll be able to get the best installation!

  1. Research manufacturers.

One of the first things to do is find out the companies that manufacture solar systems e-rickshaw. Not all solar panel manufacturers provide this type of product. Each company has its specialty. For example, Loom Solar manufactures all the components you may need for installing a solar panel on an e-rickshaw, but many others in India don’t. Therefore, before you select a type of solar panel, read through the companies that can do the installation for you.

  1. Read reviews and get feedback. 

Properly installed solar systems can last for 20-25 years! This is a one-time investment that can provide a long-term return. Therefore, reading reviews and asking for feedback is a must. We recommend asking your fellow drivers for reviews. Their experience will help you find the right solar panel. Furthermore, you can also do online research! There are various online blogs and YouTube channels that review solar panels for e-rickshaws.

  1. Contact an agent. 

Once you have found and verified the manufacturer, you should contact the local office. They will send an agent to take a look at your rickshaw. He will assess the number of solar panels that can be installed on the rickshaw, and how?

  1. Verify the designs. 

Solar panel for e-rickshaws requires special mounting equipment. This stand is custom-made for each rickshaw. Therefore, once you’ve decided to take the next step, the agent will ask a local fabricator to make a base specially designed for your rickshaw. 

  1. Complete the installation. 

Once the customization is complete, the agent will inform you about the components you require. Solar panel systems for e-rickshaws generally require: 

  • Solar panels (1-2) 
  • Batteries 
  • Charge controller
  • DC wires

When you choose a trustworthy manufacturer, you don’t have to buy each component. They can take care of all the installations, and provide you with a complete breakdown of all costs!

  1. Learn how to operate. 

Installing a solar system on an e-rickshaw is a one-time job, but it is just as important to know how to operate it. The agent will also teach you how to determine whether the system is working properly or not. Furthermore, you can also learn solutions for the common problems with these types of units and what you can do to maintain the unit.

That’s it! Once you’ve learned how to operate the solar panel for your e-rickshaw, you can start the journey. 

Conclusion

Installation of solar panels on e-rickshaw roofs has yet to become popular in India. However, this is an unexplored avenue that holds a lot of promise. An appropriate installation can ensure that the battery can charge even if the rickshaw isn’t at a standstill. All you need to get a solar panel installed on an e-rickshaw, is a trustworthy solar partner!

Christophe Rude
Christophe Rude
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