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Solar Power: Building A Strong And Vibrant Rural India

Posted on February 9, 2011 in Environment

By Shruti Bhardwaj:

Solar energy refers to renewable source of energy received from sun. Solar energy is a boon for country like India as it receives sunlight in good amount. As we all know that in India electricity is not available in every village so people in remote areas and villages can use this form of energy to make their life comfortable. It has a huge potential for helping to support the future population and as such keeping this in my mind government has launched “Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission” which set out a vision for building a solar India. The National Solar Mission will be implemented in 3 stages leading to an installed capacity of 20,000 MW of grid power, 2,000 MW of off-grid solar applications and 20 million sq. meter solar thermal collector area and solar lightening for 20 million households by the end of the 13th 5-year plan in 2022.

The immediate aim of the mission is to focus on setting up an enabling environment for solar technology penetration in the country both at centralized and decentralized levels. Apart from feeding 1,000 MW of solar power to the grid, the first phase (up to March 2013) will focus on promoting 200 MW capacity of off-grid solar energy application to supplement power, heating and cooling energy requirement and promoting 100 MW capacity of tail end and other small grid connected solar power plants.

Off Grid-Solar Applications:

Off Grid-Solar applications have tremendous potential in reaching out to people in rural and remote areas by providing lightening and basic energy services to them. These include small solar plants, roof-top solar power applications, solar lights and solar lanterns, solar thermal heating applications such as water heaters for residential, commercial, institutional and industrial applications, etc.

There are many other potential applications, like- off-grid usage, decentralized solar applications too have an immense potential to generate power and reduce diesel consumption particularly during day time. Roof-top power application for day time use and abatement of diesel and usage in industrial areas with substantial power shortages could be potential thrust areas. Similarly, solar thermal heating applications, such as water heaters for residential, commercial, institutional and industrial applications are those which are already commercially viable or near grid parity. These and several other solar thermal application can help rural areas in reducing gas/diesel consumption and can also provide them relief and comfort. (Source)

There are a large number of areas which do not have access to electricity. Off-grid solar energy applications are the easiest to reach out to people living in villages and remote areas. Moreover, there are substantial losses as electricity flows from points of generation to distribution. Feeding to power at consumption points would not only help to reduce these losses but can also strengthen the grid and its performance and ease the flow of electricity downwards. Feeding power to LT/11 KV grid is thus yet another application which can help our villages by providing additional powers to run irrigation pump sets or meet the unmet power requirement in the daytime as well as avoid use of diesel generators. Small solar plants of 1-2 MW capacity can support a large number of irrigation pumps.

The most important and interesting fact regarding this mission is that funding under the scheme would be in project mode, i.e. there must be a project report which would include client details, technical and financial details along with monitoring arrangements. The total project cost shall be funded through a mix of debit and incentives.

In recent times, India is taking the advantage of the available solar energy supplied to the country and is hoping that this source of energy will lead to an improved standard of living for much of the population. Thus, solar energy promises to keep India shining and this is the only way through which India can become energy independent.

Image courtesy.