Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Why Solar Energy is the way forward in India?

India faces a huge power shortage (slated to be in the range of 70 Million Units). Nearly 70% of power generation in the Country is through Coal based Thermal Power Plants. Although the Country has Coal reserves for nearly 60-70 years., but it is depleting faster with the advent of new projects and coal linkage agreements.
Moreover the Coal prices in India are expected to rise steeply as they have been deliberately kept lower than International market prices.

The challenges in the present Power Generation are quite a few :
Ø  Gestation period for new Thermal Power Plants (5-10 years depending on the plant size).
Ø  Coal Availability and Logistics Issues (55% Power is from Coal TPP).
Ø  Transmission & Distribution Losses (highest across the Globe).
Ø  Rural Electrification Issues (Cost, Feasibility etc.)
Ø  Environmental Clearances and Social Issues (land availability).
Ø  Emissions and Pollution related Issues.

The TPPs require another scarce natural resource i.e. water in huge quantity for their operations. Other day-to-day issues associated with TPPs include huge maintenance costs and manpower requirement.

In such a Scenario PV Solar offers a relief from the above problems. India is blessed with enough Solar Energy to wipe out the Power Problem and also address the future Energy needs of the Country. Solar Energy Utilization has gained further prominence after recent Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Problem. In fact Germany has declared to go Nuclear Free by 2022. This is no surprise considering that nearly 15% of Power during Summer is from household rooftops in Germany.
Solar Energy is not only truly green in nature but is also hazard-free. In the Indian context it is more beneficial as it can answer most of the power related problems – much quicker and better than conventional Power Plants or even Nuclear Power Plants.

[Suggested Read - Is Solar Energy really affordable?]

A few facts about PV Solar Power Plants :
ü  Require a fraction of time to be setup as compared to conventional Thermal Power Plants.
ü  Utility-scale Project could be set up in remote areas in non-arid lands and water is not required.
ü  Small-scale Project could be installed on rooftops for captive consumption.
ü  Off-grid Project could be set up for specific villages (thereby saving costs on expensive grid-lines).
ü  Does not require any raw material to operate as it only needs Sun Light.
ü  The range could be as small as 1 kW to 50 MW and more.
ü  Require NIL or Minimum maintenance which could be carried out by unskilled labourers or villagers (incase of off-grid solutions).
ü  Is a completely green solution with no emissions and hence safe for installation in human habitats as well.
Some more interesting aspects are highlighted in our post on Why PV Solar scores over other Renewtechs? 

Most parts of India are worthy and feasible for PV Solar Power Plants due to good availability of Sun Light throughout the year. Moreover with the Government Subsidies and Incentives under JNNSM make the projects completely viable. Some of the Government Schemes are :

·         Preferential Tariff :: State DISCOMs purchase power from Solar Energy at a much higher rate in the form of Long-term PPA for 25 years.
·         Renewable Energy Certificate :: RECs are market tradeable Instruments which enable a Solar Power Investor to recover the investments by selling RECs in the Power Exchanges.
·         Capital Subsidy :: 30% Capital Subsidy is available for off-grid projects.
If you wish to know further about this subject please feel free to reply to this mail.

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