What is Solar power in India?

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Solar power in India

is a fast growing industry. As of 30 June 2017, the countrys solar grid had a cumulative capacity of 13.11 GW. India quadrupled its solar-generation capacity from 2,650 MW on 26 May 2014 to 12,289 MW on 31 March 2017. The country added 3.01 GW of solar capacity in 2015-2016 and 5.525 GW in 2016-2017, the highest of any year, with the average current price of solar electricity dropping to 18% below the average price of its coal-fired counterpart.

In January 2015 the Indian government expanded its solar plans, targeting US$100 billion in investment and 100 GW of solar capacity (including 40 GW from rooftop solar) by 2022. Indias initiative of 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 is an ambitious target since the worlds installed solar-power capacity in 2014 was 181 GW.

In addition to its large-scale grid-connected solar PV initiative, India is developing off-grid solar power for local energy needs. The country has a poor rural electrification rate; in 2015 only 55 percent of all rural households had access to electricity, and 85 percent of rural households depended on solid fuel for cooking.Solar products have increasingly helped to meet rural needs; by the end of 2015, just under one million solar lanterns were sold in the country, reducing the need for kerosene. That year, 118,700 solar home lighting systems were installed and 46,655 solar street lighting installations were provided under a national program; just over 1.4 million solar cookers were distributed in India.

Solar photovoltaic growth forecasts

the forecast for solar photovoltaic installations was about 4.8 GW for the calendar year. About 2.8 GW was installed in the first eight months of 2016, more than all 2015 solar installations. Indias solar projects stood at about 21 GW, with about 14 GW under construction and about 7 GW to be auctioned. The countrys solar capacity is expected to reach 18.7 GW by the end of 2017 (89 percent higher than 2016), making it the third-largest global solar market.

Water heaters

Bengaluru has the largest deployment of rooftop solar water heaters in India, generating an energy equivalent of 200 MW. It is Indias first city to provide a rebate of ?50 (78b US) on monthly electricity bills for residents using roof-top thermal systems, which are now mandatory in all new structures. Pune has also made solar water heaters mandatory in new buildings.

Rural Electrification

The lack of an electricity infrastructure is a hurdle to rural Indias development. Indias power grid is underdeveloped, with large groups of people still living off the grid. In 2004, about 80,000 of the nations villages still did not have electricity; of them, 18,000 could not be electrified by extending the conventional grid. A target of electrifying 5,000 such villages was set for the 2002 to 2007 Five-Year Plan. By 2004 more than 2,700 villages and hamlets were electrified, primarily with solar photovoltaic systems. The development of inexpensive solar technology is considered a potential alternative, providing an electricity infrastructure consisting of a network of local-grid clusters with distributed electricity generation. It could bypass (or relieve) expensive, long-distance, centralized power-delivery systems, bringing inexpensive electricity to large groups of people. In Rajasthan during FY2016-17, 91 villages have been electrified with a solar standalone system and over 6,200 households have received a 100W solar home-lighting system.

India has sold or distributed about 1.2 million solar home-lighting systems and 3.2 million solar lanterns, and has been ranked the top Asian market for solar off-grid products.Three a thousand villages in Odisha were planned to be lit with solar power by 2014.

Lamps and lighting

By 2012, a total of 4,600,000 solar lanterns and 861,654 solar-powered home lights were installed. Typically replacing kerosene lamps, they can be purchased for the cost of a few months worth of kerosene with a small loan. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is offering a 30- to a 40-percent subsidy of the cost of lanterns, home lights and small systems Twenty million solar lamps are expected by 2022.

Agricultural support

Solar photovoltaic water-pumping systems are used for irrigation and drinking water. Most pumps are fitted with a 200 3,000 W (0.27 4.02 hp) motor powered by a 1,800 Wp PV array which can deliver about 140,000 liters (37,000 US gal) of water per day from a total hydraulic head of 10 m (33 ft). By 30 September 2006 a total of 7,068 solar photovoltaic water pumping systems were installed, and by March 2012 7,771 were installed. Solar dryers are used to dry harvests for storage.

Refrigeration and air conditioning

Thin-film solar cell panels offer better performance than crystalline silica solar panels in tropical hot and dusty places like India; there is less deterioration in conversion efficiency with increased ambient temperature, and no partial shading effect. These factors enhance the performance and reliability (fire safety) of thin-film panels. Maximum solar-electricity generation during the hot hours of the day can be used for meeting residential air-conditioning requirements regardless of other load requirements, such as refrigeration, lighting, cooking and water pumping. Power generation of photovoltaic modules can be increased by 17 to 20 percent by equipping them with a tracking system.

Residential electricity consumers who are paying higher slab rates more than ?5 (7.8b US) per unit, can form into local groups to install collectively roof top off-grid solar power units (without much battery storage) and replace the costly power used from the grid with the solar power as and when produced. Hence power draws from the grid which is an assured power supply without much power cuts nowadays serves as a cheaper backup source when grid power consumption is limited to lower slab rate by using solar power during the day time. The maximum power generation of solar panels during the sunny day time is complementary with the enhanced residential electricity consumption during the hot/summer days due to higher use of cooling appliances such as fans, refrigerators, air conditioners, desert coolers, etc. It would discourage the DisComs to extract higher electricity charges selectively from its consumers There is no need of any permission from DisComs similar to DG power sets installation. Cheaper discarded batteries of the electric vehicle can also be used economically to store the excess solar power generated in the daylight.

Hybrid solar plants

Solar energy, generated mainly during the day in the non-monsoon period, complements the wind in India. Solar panels can be located in the space between the towers of wind-power plants. It also complements hydroelectricity, generated primarily during Indias monsoon months. Solar power plants can be installed near existing hydropower and pumped-storage hydroelectricity, utilizing the existing power infrastructure and storing the surplus secondary power generated by the solar plants.

Solar-panel manufacturing

The 2016 manufacturing capacity of solar cells and solar modules in India was 1,212 MW and 5,620 MW, respectively. Except for crystalline silicon wafers or cadmium telluride photovoltaics, nearly 80 percent of the solar-panel weight is flat glass. One hundred to 150 tons of flat glass is used to manufacture a one-MW solar panel. Low-iron float or float glass is manufactured from soda ash and iron-free silica. Soda-ash manufacturing from common salt is an energy-intensive process if it is not extracted from soda lakes or glasswort cultivation in alkali soil. To increase installation of photovoltaic solar-power plants, the production of flat glass and its raw materials must expand to eliminate supply constraints or future imports.