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Solar Energy In India

Solar Energy In India

Introduction

  • India lying in tropical belt has an advantage of receiving peak solar radiation for 300 days, amounting 2300-3,000 hours of sunshine equivalent to above 5,000 trillion kWh.
  • India’s current installed solar power capacity, according to Central electricity authority, is 26025.97 MW which is 34% of total renewable energy sources i.e, 75055.92 MW till February 2019.
  • India facing problems in fulfilling its energy demand, solar energy can play an important role in providing energy security.
  • Debate of global warming and climate change is compelling the world to move from fossil based energy towards clean and green energy.
  • With its pollution free nature, virtually inexhaustible supply and global distribution, solar energy is very attractive energy resource.
  • India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s) commitment include 100 GW of solar power out of 175 GW renewable energy by 2022.

Need For Solar Power

  • Sunlight received by earth in one hour is enough to meet the annual energy needs of all people worldwide.
  • Global warming has to be curbed to a 1.5 degrees Celsius rise, in accordance to the Paris Agreement of 2015.
  • India is a signatory of this accord, solar energy is vital to meet these commitments.

Advantages

  • Safe – Nuclear power pollutes water and land and has caused environmental catastrophes, use of solar energy will eliminate these unsafe consequences.
  • Small and Decentralized Electricity Source –  Electricity can be generated using photovoltaic cells installed on roof – tops of individual buildings.
  • Combats Climate Change –  Solar power can restrict climate change as it produces no carbon emissions.
  • Green energy in rural area –  This is crucial for agri – business in farms for running irrigation, greenhouses, and crop and hay dryers, making agriculture risk – free.
  • Employment Generation –  such as small businesses engaged in installations, followed by solar designers, sales person and service professionals.
  • Cheap and Reliable Energy Source – The price of solar PV panels have decreased by 60% and the cost of the solar electricity system by 50%.

Technology Used

  • Solar Photovoltaic: Solar photovoltaic (SPV) cells convert solar radiation (sunlight) into electricity. A solar cell is a semi-conducting device made of silicon and/or other materials, which, when exposed to sunlight, generates electricity.
  • Solar thermal: Solar Thermal Power systems, also known as Concentrating Solar Power systems, use concentrated solar radiation as a high temperature energy source to produce electricity using thermal route.

India’s Solar Manufacturing Potential

  • The supply chain of solar photovoltaic (PV) panel manufacturing is as follows:
    • Silicon production from silicates (sand)
    • Production of solar grade silicon ingots (blocks)
    • Solar wafer manufacturing
    • Pv module assembly
  • The capital expenditure and technical know-how needed for these processes decreases from the first item to the last.
  • In other words, silicon production is more capital-intensive than module assembly.
  • Most Indian companies are engaged in only module assembly or wafer manufacturing and module assembly.
  • No Indian company is involved in silicon production, although a few are making strides towards it.

Clearly, India may not see domestic players, in the short term at least, replacing imported ones.

Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018

  • The IRENA report revealed that the total installed costs of utility-scale solar PV in India is as low as $793 per kilowatt (kW) in 2018 which is 27 per cent lower than for projects commissioned in 2017.
  • Canada has the highest cost at $2,427 per kW.
  • IRENA analysed eight major solar PV markets from 2010 to 2018 which include China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.
  • From the analysis, it is concluded that costs have dropped by 80 per cent in India.

Challenges | Solar Energy In India 

  • Lack of manufacturing firms– This is due to the fact that the cell manufacturing companies in the US, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and EU are dumping their cells in Indian markets at lower costs.
  • Absence of Proper Financing Mechanism – National banks provide debt at a rate much higher than what is available in the developed nations. Due to NPA issues there is no flow of funds to solar infrastructures.
  • Evacuation of power –  Many regions in some states don’t have required power grid. It is responsible for very high Aggregate Technical and Commercial losses. There is no set up for exclusive transmission lines for evacuating energy from renewable energy sources.
  • Lack of skilled workforce –  the solar energy is unlike the other renewable and nonrenewable energy sources lags in skilled manpower.
  • Availability of Land and Its Possession –  Finding a suitable land which must be non – agricultural and unused land with good solar irradiance is challenging.
  • Environmental concerns –  Recently a capacity in Rajasthan was stalled after it was found that 40% of the land allotted was part of a lake which would get submerged when the water level rises during monsoon. That could have also result in a major ecological issue, as that lake is the second largest breeding ground for flamingos in India

Government Initiatives

  • The National Solar Mission phase I was launched in 2010.
  • The Mission has set the ambitious target of deploying 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022.
  • The state governments have also announced solar policies to promote solar energy technologies in their respective states.
  • Phase II of the mission includes following schemes.
  • Solar Park Scheme –  Scheme for Enhancement of capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects.
  • CPSU Scheme – Implementation of Scheme for setting up of 1000 MW of Grid Connected Solar PV Power Projects by Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs).
  • Defence Scheme – Scheme for setting up over 300 MW of Grid Solar PV Power Projects by Defence Establishments under Ministry of Defence and Paramilitary Forces
  • VGF Scheme (5000 MW) – Scheme for setting up of 2000 MW Grid – Connected Solar PV Power Projects with Viability Gap Funding (VGF)
  • Canal Bank / Canal Top Scheme – Pilot – cum – Demonstration Projects for Development of Grid Connected Solar PV Power Plants on Canal Banks and canal Tops

Steps To Overcome Challenges

  • Hybrid solar plants –  Solar panels can be located in the space between the towers of wind – power plants.
  • Promoting decentralized plants –  To promote the usage of rooftop solar power and other solar appliances schemes should be introduced, based on the existing schemes for LED distributions.
  • Use of waste lands –  Based on the assumption that 3% of wasteland in each state can be used for solar power projects.
  • Financing mechanisms –  Ministry of finance should come up with innovative financing measures to promote these capital – intensive renewable energy projects. Financing measures such as clean energy fund, generation based incentive linked loan repayment and green bonds are some of those.
  • Manufacturing – The production of flat glass and its raw materials must expand to eliminate supply constraints or future imports This type of plants are already setup in Himalayan regions this can be extended to other terrains.

 

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