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solar powerSolar Power is the conversion of "Sunlight into Electricity", either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics convert light into electric current using the photoelectric effect. Commercial concentrated solar power plants were first developed in the 1980s. The 354 MW SEGS CSP installation is the largest solar power plant in the world, located in the Mojave Desert of California. Other large CSP plants include the Solnova Solar Power Station (150 MW) and the Andasol solar power station (150 MW), both in Spain. The over 200 MWAgua Caliente Solar Project in the United States, and the 214 MW Charanka Solar Park in India, are the world’s largest photovoltaic power stations.

solar power in india India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, an ideal combination for using solar power in India. India is already a leader inwind power generation. In the solar energy sector, some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km2 area of the Thar Deserthas been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 GW to 2,100 GW. Also India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released the JNNSM Phase 2 Draft Policy, by which the Government aims to install 10GW of Solar Power and of this 10 GW target, 4 GW would fall under the central scheme and the remaining 6 GW under various State specific schemes. In July 2009, India unveiled a US$19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020. Under the plan, the use of solar-powered equipment and applications would be made compulsory in all government buildings, as well as hospitals and hotels. On 18 November 2009, it was reported that India was ready to launch its National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013. From August 2011 to July 2012, India went from 2.5 MW of grid connected photovoltaics to over 1,000 MW. According to a 2011 report by BRIDGE TO INDIA and GTM Research, India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption at a "furious pace over the next five years and beyond". The falling prices of PV panels, mostly from China but also from the U.S., has coincided with the growing cost of grid power in India. Government support and ample solar resources have also helped to increase solar adoption, but perhaps the biggest factor has been need. India, "as a growing economy with a surging middle class, is now facing a severe electricity deficit that often runs between 10 and 13 percent of daily need".

applications

Rural Electrification

Lack of electricity infrastructure is one of the main hurdles in the development of rural India. India's grid system is considerably under-developed, with major sections of its populace still surviving off-grid. As of 2004 there are about 80,000 unelectrified villages in the country. Of these villages, 18,000 could not be electrified through extension of the conventional grid. A target for electrifying 5,000 such villages was set for the Tenth National Five Year Plan (2002-2007). As of 2004, more than 2,700 villages and hamlets had been electrified, mainly using solar photovoltaic systems. Developments in cheap solar technology are considered as a potential alternative that allows an electricity infrastructure consisting of a network of local-grid clusters with distributed electricity generation. It could allow bypassing (or at least relieving) the need to install expensive, lossy, long-distance, centralised power delivery systems and yet bring cheap electricity to the masses. Projects currently planned include 3000 villages of Orissa, which will be lighted with solar power by 2014.

Solar Lamps and Lighting

By 2012 46,00,000 solar lanterns and 861,654 solar powered home lights have been installed. These typically replace kerosene lamps and can be purchased for the cost of a few months worth of kerosene through a small loan. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is offering a 30% to 40% subsidy for the cost of lanterns, home lights and small systems up to 210 Wp. 20 million solar lamps are expected by 2022.

Agricultural Support

Solar PV water pumping systems are used for irrigation and drinking water. The majority of the pumps are fitted with a 200-3,000 watt motor that are powered with 1,800 Wp PV array which can deliver about 140,000 liters of water per day from a total head of 10 meters. By 30 September 2006, a total of 7,068 solar PV water pumping systems had been installed, and by March 2012, 7,771 had been installed. Solar driers are used to dry harvests before storage.

Solar Water Heaters

Bangalore has the largest deployment of rooftop solar water heaters in India. These heaters generate an energy equivalent of 200 MW. Bangalore is also the first city in the country to put in place an incentive mechanism by providing a rebate of 50 on monthly electricity bills for residents using roof-top thermal systems. These systems are now mandatory for all new structures. Pune, another city in the western part of India, has also recently made installation of solar water heaters in new buildings mandatory.

Challenges and Opportunities

Land is a scarce resource in India and per capita land availability is low. Dedication of land area for exclusive installation of solar arrays might have to compete with other necessities that require land. The amount of land required for utility-scale solar power plants—currently approximately 1 km2 for every 20-60 megawatts (MW) generated—could pose a strain on India's available land resource. The architecture more suitable for most of India would be a highly distributed set of individual rooftop power generation systems, all connected via a local grid. However, erecting such an infrastructure, which does not enjoy the economies of scale possible in mass, utility-scale, solar panel deployment, needs the market price of solar technology deployment to substantially decline, so that it attracts the individual and average family size household consumer. That might be possible in the future, because PV is projected to continue its current cost reductions for the next decades and be able to compete with fossil fuel. Some noted think-tanks recommend that India should adopt a policy of developing solar power as a dominant component of the renewable energy mix, since being adensely populated region in the sunny tropical belt, the subcontinent has the ideal combination of both high solar insolation and therefore a big potential consumer basedensity. In one of the analyzed scenarios, India can make renewable resources such as solar the backbone of its economy by 2050, reining in its long-term carbon emissions without compromising its economic growth potential. According to a 2011 report by BRIDGE TO INDIA and GTM Research, India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption at a "furious pace over the next five years and beyond". The falling prices of PV panels, mostly from China but also from the U.S., has coincided with the growing cost of grid power in India. Government support and ample solar resources have also helped to increase solar adoption, but perhaps the biggest factor has been need. India, "as a growing economy with a surging middle class, is now facing a severe electricity deficit that often runs between 10 and 13 percent of daily need".

Government Support

51 Solar Radiation Resource Assessment stations have been installed across India by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to monitor the availability of solar energy. Data is collected and reported to the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET), in order to create a Solar Atlas. The government of India is promoting the use of solar energy through various strategies. In the latest budget for 2010/11, the government has announced an allocation of 10 billion (US$184.0 million) towards the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission and the establishment of a clean energy fund. It is an increase of 3.8 billion (US$69.9 million) from the previous budget. This new budget has also encouraged private solar companies by reducing customs duty on solar panels by 5% and exempting excise duty on solar photovoltaic panels. This is expected to reduce the cost of a roof-top solar panel installation by 15–20%. The budget also proposed a coal tax of US$1 per metric ton on domestic and imported coal used for power generation. Additionally, the government has initiated a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) scheme, which is designed to drive investment in low-carbon energy projects. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy provides 70 percent subsidy on the installation cost of a solar photovoltaic power plant in North-East states and 30 percentage subsidy on other regions. The detailed outlay of the National Solar Mission highlights various targets set by the government to increase solar energy in the country's energy portfolio. The Mysore City Corporation has decided to set up a mega Solar power plant in Mysore with 50% concession from the Government of India. The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) has made plans for setting up more power plants in the state to take up total generation up to 200 MW. Reeling under an acute power crises, the Government of Tamil Nadu has recently unveiled its new Solar Energy Policy which aims at increasing the installed solar capacity from the current approximate of 20 MW to over 3000 MW by 2015. The policy aims at fixing a 6% solar energy requirement on industries and residential buildings for which incentives in the form of tax rebates and current tariff rebates of up to Rs.1/unit will be applicable to those who comply with the Solar Energy Policy. The policy also gives an option to those industries/buildings who do not want to install rooftop solar photo-voltaic systems to invest in the government's policy and be given the same incentives as explained above.