Solar energy is genesis for all forms of energy. This energy can be made use of in two ways the Thermal route i.e. using heat for drying, heating, cooking or generation of electricity or through the Photovoltaic route which converts solar energy in to electricity that can be used for a myriad purposes such as lighting, pumping and generation of electricity. With its pollution free nature, virtually inexhaustible supply and global distribution- solar energy is very attractive energy resource.
Solar Energy can be utilized for varied applications. So the answer to “Why Solar” question can be sought from two different perspectives: utilizing solar energy for grid-interactive and off-grid (including captive) power generation.
1. Solar for grid connected electricity:
Grid interactive solar energy is derived from solar photovoltaic cells and CSP Plants on a large scale. The grid connection is chosen due to following reasons:
- Solar Energy is available throughout the day which is the peak load demand time
- Solar energy conversion equipments have longer life and need lesser maintenance and hence provide higher energy infrastructure security
- Low running costs & grid tie-up capital returns (Net Metering)
- Unlike conventional thermal power generation from coal, they do not cause pollution and generate clean power
- Abundance of free solar energy throughout all parts of world (although gradually decreasing from equatorial, tropical, sub-tropical and polar regions). Can be utilized almost everywhere.
2. Solar for off-grid solutions:
While, the areas with easier grid access are utilizing grid connectivity, the places where utility power is scant or too expensive to bring, have no choice but to opt for their own generation. They generate power from a diverse range of small local generators using both fossil fuels (diesel, gas) and locally available renewable energy technologies (solar PV, wind, small hydro, biomass, etc.) with or without its own storage (batteries). This is known as off-grid electricity. Remote power systems are installed for the following reasons:
- Desire to use renewable - environmentally safe, pollution free
- Combining various generating options available- hybrid power generation
- Desire for independence from the unreliable, fault prone and interrupted grid connection
- Available storage and back-up options
- No overhead wires- no transmission loss
- Varied applications and products: Lighting, Communication Systems, Cooking, Heating, Pumping, Small scale industry utilization etc.
Captive power generation is done mainly considering the replacement of diesel with solar. Comparison of diesel vs captive power generation is available here. Our tailormade report on Captive Solar Power Generation can be downloaded here.
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 cells are connected in series and parallel combinations to form modules that provide the required power.
- Crystalline Silicon solar cells (C-Si): Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline
- Thin-film solar cells: Amorphous Silicon Solar cells (A-Si), CIGS, CdTe
PV modules are manufactured by assembling the solar cells after stringing, tabbing and providing other interconnections.
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. High temperature solar energy collectors are basically of three types:
- Parabolic trough system: at the receiver can reach 400° C and produce steam for generating electricity.
- Power tower system: The reflected rays of the sun are always aimed at the receiver, where temperatures well above 1000° C can be reached.
- Parabolic dish systems: Parabolic dish systems can reach 1000° C at the receiver, and achieve the highest efficiencies for converting solar energy to electricity.
India's Unique Proposition
CLICK HERE to find potential areas by providing latitude and longitude data input.
Economic Value: The generation of solar electricity coincides with the normal peak demand during daylight hours in most places, thus mitigating peak energy costs, brings total energy bills down, and obviates the need to build as much additional generation and transmission capacity as would be the case without PV.
Geographical Location: India being a tropical country receives adequate solar radiation for 300 days, amounting to 3,000 hours of sunshine equivalent to over 5,000 trillion kWh. Almost all the regions receive 4-7 kWh of solar radiation per sq mtrs with about 2,300–3,200 sunshine hours/year, depending upon the location. Potential areas for setting up solar power plant can be analyzed using Solar irradiation map of India. Our Statewise analysis of Solar resource, Business Opportunities and Latest trends in the states are discussed:
Andhra Pradesh Bihar Gujarat Haryana Karnataka Kerala Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra Orissa Punjab Rajasthan Uttar Pradesh West Bengal
Power Shortage: Electricity losses in India during transmission and distribution have been extremely high over the years and this reached a worst proportion of about 24.7% during 2010-11. India is in a pressing need to tide over a peak power shortfall of 13% by reducing losses due to theft. Theft of electricity, common in most parts of urban India, amounts to 1.5% of India’s GDP. Due to shortage of electricity, power cuts are common throughout India and this has adversely affected the country’s economic growth.
|SOURCE||CUMULATIVE CAPACITY (numbers)|
|Rural / Semi Urban Biogas Plants||42,77,000|
|SPV Street Lighting System||1,21,634|
|SPV Home Lighting System||6,19,428|
Current Projects (includes both- installed and under installation projects)
|S.No||State||Photovoltaic Capacity (MW)||Solar Thermal Capacity (MW)|