A renewable electricity generation technology harnesses a naturally existing energy flux, such as wind, sun, heat, or tides, and converts that flux to...
A renewable electricity generation technology harnesses a naturally existing energy flux, such as wind, sun, heat, or tides, and converts that flux to electricity.
Being a non- polluting and free source of energy, that is sustainable and non- exhaustible, solar energy has become a powerful source of power supply in the contemporary world .The disappearance of the fossil fuels from the planet and their rising costs has forced countries to switch over to a sustainable energy source. The large magnitude of solar energy available makes it a highly appealing source of electricity. Today, the technology produces less than one tenth of one percent of global energy demand.
Renewable electricity generation technologies must be located where the natural energy flux occurs, unlike conventional fossil-fuel and nuclear electricity-generating facilities, which can be located at some distance from their fuel sources. Renewable technologies also follow a paradigm somewhat different from conventional energy sources in that renewable energy can be thought of as manufactured energy, with the largest proportion of costs, external energy, and material inputs occurring during the manufacturing process. Although conventional sources such as nuclear- and coal-powered electricity generation have a high proportion of capital-to-fuel costs, all renewable technologies, except for biomass-generated electricity
Trends and updates
Renewable energy is the most efficient way to make a nation independent and self-sufficient. Many industrialized nations have installed significant solar power capacity into their electrical grids to supplement or provide an alternative to conventional energy sources while an increasing number of less developed nations have turned to solar to reduce dependence on expensive imported fuels. Japan, Germany, China and the United States are major markets for solar cells. With tax incentives, solar electricity can often pay for itself in five to ten years.
Commercial concentrated solar power plants were first developed in the 1980s. The 392 MW Ivanpah installation is the largest concentrating solar power plant in the world, located in the Mojave Desert of California.
The International Energy Agency projected in 2014 that under its “high renewables” scenario, by 2050, solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar power would contribute about 16 and 11 percent, respectively, of the worldwide electricity consumption, and solar would be the world’s largest source of electricity.
Solar power in India
In the developing countries like India, solar and power energy is a growing need for the progress of the country. As power shortfalls continue, peak shortage is a critical problem that has stifled industrial growth, and back-up generation is becoming increasingly expensive. Effective majors have been taken and now solar energy in India has become the fast growing industry. International equipment suppliers are paying more attention to the Indian market and are developing specific pricing and product strategies for India.
India is ranked number one in solar electricity production per watt installed, with an insolation of 1700 to 1900 kilowatt hours per kilowatt peak (kWh/KWp). India’s first solar power project (with a capacity of 5 MW) was registered under the Clean Development Mechanism. The project is in Sivagangai Village, Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu. India saw a sudden rise in use of solar electricity. Recent growth has been over 3,000 MW per year and is set to increase yet further.
The Charanka Solar Park, at 214 MW the largest in the world, along with a total of 605 MW in Gujarat, representing 2/3 of India’s installed photovoltaics. Large solar parks have also been announced in the state of Rajasthan The rapid growth in deployment of solar power is recorded and updated monthly on the Indian Government’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy website. Being a tropical country, India has about 300 clear and sunny days in a year. The solar energy available in a year exceeds the possible energy output of all fossil fuel energy reserves in India.
In addition to the large-scale grid connected solar PV initiative, India is continuing to develop the use of off-grid solar power for localized energy needs. India has a poor electrification rate in rural areas. Reports say that the installed price of solar energy has declined significantly in recent years as policy and market forces have driven more and more solar installations. Perhaps the most interesting piece of data to come out in the latest Lawrence Berkeley National Lab reports is the trend in the price of solar power purchase agreements or PPAs. These prices reflect the price paid for long-term contracts for the bulk purchase of solar electricity.
In an attempt to boost its image as a global leader in the solar power market, India is planning to propose a collaboration among nations to promote research and development with an aim to reduce costs. In January 2016, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and the President of France, Mr. François Hollande laid the foundation stone for the headquarters of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in Gwalpahari, Gurgaon. The ISA will focus on promoting and developing solar energy and solar products for countries lying wholly or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
With reduced costs and improved technologies, the solar energy ensures the reduced electricity bills, increases countries’ energy security through reliance on an indigenous, inexhaustible resources, enhanced sustainability, reduced pollution, lower the costs of mitigating global warming, and keeps fossil fuel prices lower than otherwise. It is environment friendly and any one can use it. The advantages are global. Hence the additional costs of the incentives for early deployment should be considered learning investments; they must be wisely spent and need to be widely shared.