Some solar facts

ECR farm visit

The Hindu devoted an entire page of  its Sunday edition to solar power, carrying articles that cover nearly every thing  one needs to know to go solar.

It is not as if awareness is lacking. People do see the advantages. And yet most of us remain solar skeptics. Despite govt.  incentives we don’t see a whole lot of people showing enthusiasm for  small rooftop solar plants .  State government offers a generation-based incentive of Rs. 2 a unit. plus Rs.20,000 subsidy, for plants of up to 1 kW. But the rules are still being formulated.

A one-kilowatt peak (KWp) solar photovoltaic plant, without battery, costs Rs. 1 lakh. With the capital subsidy of 30 per cent from the Centre and Rs. 20,000 from the State government , the initial investment will be Rs. 50,000.  Add a battery – costing Rs.50,000 – the cost of solar power to households would be Rs.1 lakh per kw.  Assuming that the plant generates 135 units a month, consumer saves, annually, Rs. 9,315 on power bill. A decentralised solar system should make economic sense,  at least for those who consume more than 500 units in two months.

We publish here some other info gleaned from The Hindu’s solar page.  For those wanting to read all the articles, we give the links at the end of this post.

We treat solar energy merely an alternative energy source, rather that the key to boosting power generation.”Actively promote solar energy as a viable alternative in urban India and not just as a solution to power-deprived rural or remote regions,” says Tata Solar CEO Ajay K. Goel.

SPO (solar purchase obligation) in Tamil Ndu makes it mandatory for certain classes of electricity consumers to get a part of their consumption from solar plants. SPO has been challenged in the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity by the Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association.

For large industries, it makes business sense to put up their own rooftop or ground-mounted plants than to buy solar power to meet their SPO. Daimler plant near Chennai has set up a 300-kilowatt (kW) rooftop plant.

Colleges/schools can do the same. B.S. Abdur Rahman University,keen on starting solar courses. is putting up a 150-kW plant. A.M. Jain College in Chennai is working on installing a 1-MW rooftop project.

Over 75 per cent of our solar projects use imported thin-film technology.Thin-films account for less than 15 per cent of the total solar installations worldwide.Thin-films have their specific application, but in India the choice was made not for technological, but financial, reasons.

Small rooftop plants on individual houses are slow in coming. Despite govt. sweetners. Besides generation-based incentive, of Rs. 2 a unit, the state govt. offers Rs. 20,000 subsidy for units with capacities up to 1 kW. But the rules for this are still being formulated.

Muthukadu lake project

IIT-Madras have developed a hybrid solar-powered desalination plant. A solar photovoltaic panel is dovetailed to a power grid or a backup diesel generator that will power up during periods of weak sunshine and at night and keep producing water through a reverse osmosis plant.

The pilot plant produces 2.4 kilolitres a day. Since the system does not use backup batteries, maintenance and operational costs are minimal. Efforts to scale up the pilot plant to provide 1 million litres per day. The project was envisioned to be implemented near Muttukkadu, a few years ago but was shelved due to lack of funds.

At Dharmapuri hospital

A pilot solar plant designed by the institute is used to heat infant warmers at a hospital in Dharmapuri and provide energy required to store vaccines in refrigerators.Stand alone systems are quite useful and stand a competitive chance, especially in remote areas, where transport of diesel to power diesel generators costs a lot,” said Jeevan Das, a research scholar who is working on the Suryajal project.

Gujarat solar model

Launched towards the end of 2010, the Rs. 9,000-crore Gujarat Solar Park, set up on government wasteland in north Gujarat, has already been producing 214 MW,making it the first State to generate such solar energy capacity at a single location.

Stretched to 5,000 acres, from the present 2,669 acres, the Charanka Park, located at a village of Patan district, will generate 500 MW. This will make it Asia’s largest solar farm. Gujarat’s total installed capacity is 605 MW, and projects are operational in 10 districts.The government is looking for more wasteland in north Gujarat’s Banaskantha district for setting up another solar park.

Gandhinagar, being envisioned as model solar city, already has solar rooftop systems ranging from 1 kilowatt (kW) to 150 kW at more than 150 locations. This covers a total of two acres of rooftop area, providing 1 per cent of the total energy consumption in the capital. Also, the new building of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board is completely powered by solar energy

The solar page articles:

Sunny future

Green obligations

No Clouds here

The sunshine state

Good tech getting better