dip a brush Into SUN and paint a window towards Eternity
India is a country of over a billion people. As of 31st August 2010 there were 89808 villages or 15.1 % of the total which were still un-electrified . Over 40% of the country’s population currently does not have energy access .India as a country still depends heavily on imports of oil and natural gas when it comes to meeting the daily energy needs. Using these sources of energy is an economic burden to the government and at the same time they heavily contribute to the pollution. To realize the dream of becoming a superpower by 2020 India needs to be self-sufficient in its energy needs. Even though non-renewable sources of energy such as oil and gas are cheaper to work with than renewable sources, Renewable sources have an advantage in terms of the pollution they create, hence if we can work towards bringing down the cost of working with these energy sources, we can kill two birds with a stone. Since India lies at the tropic of cancer we get abundant sunshine to make full use of solar energy. Solar energy has become an attractive source of renewable energy because of reduction in the cost of manufacturing of solar panel these days.
With about 300 clear sunny days in a year, India’s theoretical solar power reception, just on its land area is about 5000 trillion kWh/year . The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 2,300–3,200 sunshine hours per year, depending upon location. This is far more than current total energy consumption. For example, even assuming 10% conversion efficiency for PV modules, it will still be thousand times greater than the likely electricity demand in India by the year 2015.
As of August 2010 India fulfills around 10.9% of the total requirement with renewable sources of energy while solar accounts for a total of 1% of the renewable energy generation . Currently we generate 18MW (get the latest from http://www.mnre.gov.in/) from Solar Sources but it is expected that 150-200 MW of solar power will be installed in the country by December 2011 .These non-conventional sources of energy have the capability of fulfilling the requirement without harming the environment. As of September 2010 the status of Decentralized Energy Systems is as follows .
|1||Family Type Biogas Plants||4.27 million|
|2||SPV Home Lighting System||6,19,428|
|4||SPV Street Lighting System||1,21,227|
|6||Solar Water Heating||Collector Area 3.77 mln. sq.m|
SPV: Solar Photovoltaic
Considering India as a large country these numbers are miniscule. The present government has taken some steps to utilize the solar energy. A solar mission named “Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission” was launched in January 2010, which promises to generate 1,000MW by 2013 and by 2022 generate 20GW, to deploy 20 million solar lighting systems and to achieve 20 million sq. meters solar thermal collector area. However a point to note is that India is currently ranked number one with United States in terms of total solar power generation capacity. Experts are recommending that India should adopt a policy to create solar energy as a backbone of its economy by 2050.
Corporate houses like INDOSOLAR have started producing world-class solar panels with high efficiencies ranging up to 17.2%. Indosolar is currently producing 160MWp and plans to produce 260MWp by 2011. Non-Profit organizations like TERI (The Energy and Resource Institute) have also come up with projects like LABL (lighting a billion lives) Campaign to enhance access to clean energy and ease in creation of rural green jobs in association with The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India.
While the merits of installing solar equipment are large it suffers from a few drawbacks. The efficiency of solar panels is still 15% of the sunlight energy received. The cost of production ranges from Rs. 8 to Rs. 30 per unit compared to Rs. 5 to Rs. 8 per unit of conventional thermal energy. We can store solar energy only using large batteries, which can be an environmental risk. There has been a slow progress over the years and India has fallen short of achieving the desired momentum. India is now 7th worldwide in Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Cell production and 9th in Solar Thermal Systems production with nations like Japan, China, and the US currently ranked ahead of it.
To summarize we can see that some steps have been taken to tap the potential of solar energy but still more effort needs to be put in. We need more private investments so that the initial costs of the panels come down. We need the government to fund research projects to develop solar panel with high-efficiency. Also common man needs to be made aware about the merits so that he is convinced to use solar energy in his day-to-day life.
The pie chart for the worldwide use of Renewable Energy is shown below:
The Statistics and figures are believed to be true and are used from trusted sources.