Thursday, 22 December 2011

How and Why Solar Energy (PV Solar) scores over other Renew Techs?

There is a lot of interest generated lately in Green Energy or Renewable Energy Sources. This interest may seem sudden but in fact the interest had always been there just that it is becoming visible now. Everyone was keen to tap Solar Energy - in someway or the other to make use of the same as part of day-to-day activities. For all practical purposes one can consider The Sun to be practically infinite source of energy thereby drawing a lot of attention.

Renewable Energy Sources are especially important in the Indian context because of large-scale dependence on Fossil Fuel especially Coal which accounts for nearly 60% of power generation in India. Although there are a variety of renewable power options Solar Energy will contribute maximum to India Growth Story.

Challenges of depletion of fossil fuels, environmental hazards, increasing power demand, infrastructural issues in transmission and distribution etc. are quite well-known. With a present peak power deficit of 10% it is estimated that it would rise to nearly double in the next 5 years unless stringent and concrete measures are taken to meet the power demand. Renewable Energy Sources such as Solar, Wind, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal play an important role. Any Country must ideally look at its strength in terms of Geographic conditions and allocate suitable budget for the right mix of power portfolio which should have maximum priority to the most easily available and feasible option.

In the Indian context Solar Energy is the leader in terms of Source of Renewable Energy and it offers several advantages in a growing economy. Various factors that work in favor of PV Solar are

  • PV Solar is the only power generator which can deliver power at ZERO operational cost / running cost. No other renewable technology can claim this.
  • Excellent Solar Radiation across the Country ensures feasibility of PV Solar across the Geography.
  • With 25-30 years of critical component life (Photo Voltaic Modules) it ensures a long-term, reliable and sustainable power solution.
  • Generation-Load proximity ensures minimal losses - a very important aspect in a Country which has one of the worst ATC (T&D) losses in the range of 25-30%.
  • PV Solar is truly environmentally friendly with a Energy Payback of 2-5 years which no other renewable energy technology can claim.
  • PV Solar can be installed closed to human habitat as it does not cause any health hazard.
  • PV Solar also has an advantage over Solar Thermal Power - in which it does not require water to operate.
And many more such advantages...

Industries should ideally be the first movers as they can benefit immensely from the units saved as they are charged a higher power tariff. In fact several leading Industries have already taken the first step in this direction by carrying out feasibility study at their sites and results have been phenomenal. On an average any industry can reduce around 10% of its power consumption and also benefit from several Government subsidies under JNNSM.

Apart from general awareness on the subject the problem with PV Solar is Myths surrounding it. However with the percolation of appropriate information we expect that PV Solar will become the solution of choice at not only Industrial or Utility level but also at household level.

Friday, 2 December 2011

What is Solar Energy? Solar Energy Facts

Solar Energy is an increasingly popular term especially in the Indian region after a lot of interest has been generated in this regards. This has been true because of various factors playing a key role especially Power deficit driving interest and also suitability of using Solar Energy across India.

This post attempts to look at a Few Facts about Solar Energy and they are -
  1. Solar Energy i.e. the Energy received from The Sun is the only source of Energy which provides 2 Sources - Light Energy and Thermal / Heat Energy.
  2. Solar Thermal Applications have been in use for quite sometime in the Indian context especially because of increased awareness and Government subsidies. Primarily Solar Thermal Applications include Water Heating - at Industrial & Domestic level, Drying Applications, Process preheating in Industries etc.
  3. Recently Solar Thermal is also used for generating power through super-heated steam.
  4. Light Energy of The Sun is primarily used for day-time lighting applications and also power generation.
  5. Power generation by using Light Energy of The Sun is done through Photo Voltaic Solar Panels. PV Solar panels are basically solid state electrical devices which generate electrical power when Sunlight is incident on them - either directly or diffused.
  6. India has a peak deficit of about 10% (as per CERC) and even though there are aggressive plans to add Power Generation capacity it may not suffice due to ever-increasing demand for Power and hence Solar Power Generation is being considered as the most suitable option considering geographic conditions.
  7. India has one of the worst T&D (aka ATC Losses) of around 30%. Solar Power can be effectively utilized for decentralized PV Solar Power Projects wherein losses are negligible or zero especially because of generation-load proximity.
  8. Solar Energy is gaining lot of interest especially because of excellent radiation (also known as Solar Insolation) across the Country - which can be seen in the Solar Radiation Map.
  9. PV Solar applications at a small scale have been in use for long to power small devices - watches, calculators, lanterns etc.
  10. PV Solar as Power Generators is a relatively new but an emerging concept in India. Globally PV Solar Power Projects have been installed at various levels with Germany leading the PV Solar installation capacity with an installed capacity of 17,000 MW.
  11. Another advantage of PV Solar is that it has nearly ZERO running or operational cost associated with it  - which no other technology can offer.
  12. Government initiatives (at Central and State level) have been very encouraging at various levels. It is estimated that PV Solar Power capacity which is around 140 MW (as on Nov 2011) will be 3000 MW++ by 2013 - a quantum leap !
  13. Grid parity is a term to judge a technology's commercial aspect with respect to other technologies. In case of PV Solar price parity has been reached if compared with DG Sets and hence DG Sets prove to be an ideal candidate for replacement by PV Solar.
  14. The primary reason why PV Solar is not able to pick up is because of lack of awareness and various Myths about PV Solar. If appropriate information is communicated then PV Solar will certainly be the Power of choice.
Solar Energy FAQs - is another one of our posts which discusses about the most commonly and frequently asked questions on Solar Energy. It looks at more of the queries asked by individuals interested in knowing more about Solar Energy.

Ideally PV Solar Power should be the way forward and the only impeding reason for its growth is lack of awareness regarding the benefit that it offers in addition to the support by various Central and State Governments. Industries should be the first one to utilize PV Solar Power as they have a huge un-utilized rooftops and adjoining land areas which could be effectively utilized for installation of PV Solar Panels. In fact we are already engaged with Industry Leaders and providing them Expert Advisory and Consultancy on how they could move in that direction.

The response has been phenomenal with several key players already considering the Projects that have been identified at their locations. The most attractive part is the Government offers excellent benefit for not only grid-feed projects but also captive consumption projects that an Industry would like to opt for. These incentives also protect the Industries from ever-rising power prices.