India looking forward to bank on Solar power

In India, Solar power has become the catchword for many states in recent times. Internationally, the price of solar power components has been declining at 15% year over year, and states are leveraging this trend. India’s commitments on increasing its non-fossil fuel component of power generation to 40% by 2030 are substantial. Even though coal usage has been increasing too but India is confident to use more solar power. In Gujrat (one of the states in India) they have been using Solar power a bit for a while. The project was the brainchild of Narendra Modi. As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi spurred companies to build more than 900MW of solar plant across the state in just a couple of years. Now, as prime minister, the question is whether he can repeat the feat across India, which receives more sunlight than any other country in the G20. India’s booming cities are another huge challenge, with many struggling with blackouts, particularly when temperatures soar and air conditioning is ramped up. Again, Modi’s 13-year tenure in Gujarat is providing the solar template. In September, it was announced that rooftop solar power projects in the state capital, Gandhinagar, will be replicated in Punjab and Delhi, where a storm at the end of May plunged its fragile grid into rolling blackouts for a week.

Delhi is ever more power-hungry, but with little open land and 300-plus days of sunshine a year, rooftop solar is an attractive solution. India’s pledge document talks about increasing nuclear power from 5 GW to 63 GW by 2032 and doubling wind capacity to 60 GW by 2022. But the most ambitious is the plan to increase solar capacity from 4 GW to 100 GW in the next seven years. With the liability issue bogging down nuclear, much of the heavy lifting may have to be done by solar and, to some extent, wind.

Solar power has become the catchword for many states in recent times. Internationally, the price of solar power components has been declining at 15% year over year, and states are leveraging this trend to get good deals. Recently, Madhya Pradesh was able to beat down the price it will have to pay for power from a solar project to Rs 5.05 a unit.
The pledge document says: “A scheme for development of 25 solar parks, ultra mega solar power projects, canal top solar projects and 1,00,000 solar pumps for farmers is at different stages of implementation.” The 100 GW expansion planned nationwide would need acquisition of nearly 5 lakh acres of land – at least three times the size of Mumbai.

I really hope India start using more non fossil fuels and less charcoal.

Source: The guardian, TOI

Some interesting facts, pros and cons of Solar Energy

In my previous article I wrote about Wind Energy. Today I would like to cite some facts about Solar Energy. Recently I read an article where a Swedish firm seeks to revolutionize solar energy production by creating a new solar electricity generation system that developers claim is the most efficient in the world. It is currently being tested in South Africa’s Kalahari desert. The Stirling engine was developed by Reverend Robert Stirling in Edinburgh in 1816 as an alternative to the steam engine. It uses alternate heating and cooling of an enclosed gas to drive pistons, which turn a flywheel. Because of the material limitations at the time, the advanced stirling engine that Ripasso uses was not commercially developed until 1988, when Swedish defence contractor Kokums started making them for submarines.

Reading this article, I became more curious about Solar energy which lead me to find some facts, pros or cons about it. Let’s have a quick look about it.

1) Sustainable : 73,000 terawatts of solar energy shine down on the Earth’s surface every day, which is 10,000 times the daily global energy use. So imagine so much energy we can tap everyday.
2) Reduced Electricity cost : Well, no need to discuss a lot about it. When the batteries are fully charged, our electricity bill will be less.
3) No Noise: Solar panels don’t create any noise like Wind turbines do.

Cons:
1) Initial investment: Installing solar panels can be quite expensive initially. Even though they don’t need high maintenance, changing the batteries could also add to the cost. A good Solar panel can last upto 2- to 25 years
2) No Sun, no energy : Solar panels can be ‘only’ useful if sunlight is available for most days during the year. If you live in a area where it rains or snows a lot. It might not be a good idea to install it

3) Not completely clean energy : While solar power certainly is less polluting than fossil fuels, some problems do exist. Some manufacturing processes are associated with greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrogen trifluroide and sulfur hexafluoride has been traced back to the production of solar panels. These are some of the most potent greenhouse gases and have many thousand times the impact on global warming compared to carbon dioxide. Transportation and installation of solar power systems can also indirectly cause pollution ( even though very little)

In the end installing Solar Panels still still have higher advantage.