Whenever there is a conversation happening around Power and Renewable Energy, Solar Power generation has been an obligatory talking point. Countries like the USA is coming up with projects in the Nevada desert that will store energy from the sun for use at times when the sun doesn’t shine and Japan is having its first office building fully powered by off-the-grid solar energy opened on February 26, 2018, in the city of Saga. Gyanesh Chaudhary- Chairman, Renewable Energy and Storage Division, IEEMA, spoke to ELE Times on how Solar power is gaining a larger share in India’s energy basket too.
ELE Times: What are the different methods of solar power harvesting?
There are various methods to harvest solar power.
Solar Thermal- It is also known as concentrating solar power. As the name suggests, mirrors are used to concentrate solar rays to a point to heat liquids to generate power. Solar thermal is a lesser-known method to harvest solar energy and it is not commonly applied for residential or commercial power generation purposes.
However, the best of the ways of harvesting solar in a most efficient and quick manner is with PV technology. PV modules do not require moving machines to produce energy, they can generate energy just by being in contact with the sun rays. This energy is then stored in the battery or transmitted through the grid for use.
And continuous fall of solar module prices has made them very acceptable and accessible to common people, initiating the solar revolution.
ELE Times: What is a Residential Solar Electric System and how does it Work?
A residential Solar electric system is a complete setup that uses solar panels to harvest energy, then transforms it into electricity. The electricity is then used by the residents to run home appliances.
How it works:
Solar PV panels are generally placed on the roof of the house. And these panels use sunlight during the day to convert it into Direct Current (DC).
The energy (DC current) is then sent to the inverter, which converts it into Alternate Current (AC – the electricity that we use for home/establishments).
Solar harvested energy from the inverter is now available to you for use. At the same time, the energy you are not using is transferred to your storage system. This energy can be used when the sun is not shining.
The electricity is set through your digital meter to help you measure your electricity usage habits and add convenience to billing processes.
When the energy has charged your battery, you can send the excess energy back to the grid, thus allowing you to earn (getting electricity bill reduced) from your own electricity generation.
ELE Times: What are the possibilities of solar power generation and selling it back to the grid in India?
With fast solar installation, Government of India is keen on increasing the solar acceptability and adoption trajectory. Currently, all 36 (states and UTEs) have disclosed their net-metering policies, which allows the residents to generate electricity through residential solar projects and send the excess energy to the grid, getting credits on their electricity bills. Although there are some difficulties with enforcing the regulations and confusion regarding the policies, the Government of India is working towards solving issues to make solar the mainstream energy source.
ELE Times: What are the factors that need to be focused upon to popularize solar installing in India?
In India investment is pouring in and new policies are being implemented in order to speed up the country’s green energy transition. Grid-connected solar energy capacity in the country has crossed the 20 GW mark, while growth in rooftop has crossed the 2 GW milestone. Focusing on policies like net-metering, mandating solar installations in high rises, and subsidies on rooftop solar installation are promising energy stability through solar growth.
However, climate awareness, more focus on residential solar growth and awareness regarding the benefit of choosing solar is needed to help common man/consumers make the decision that can help the environment, satisfy energy needs and improve humanity’s chances at conscious evolution.
ELE Times: How do you envision the solar industry ten or twenty years from now? Do you have a concept of where you see things going?
India has scaled a great height in a short time frame in solar even without the support of well-built industrial support, which dominant solar countries enjoy. This assures India’s continuous ascent in the solar sector in the future.
However, to become energy reliant, and ultimately initiate socio-economic revolution through controlling the (domestic and international) energy industry, India needs to put more effort in protecting domestic manufacturing industry from foreign invasion.
We believe, calculated decisions regarding protecting and improving domestic industry will afford India the opportunity to become a solar energy superpower.