Solar Energy and Alternatives of Renewable Energy

Solar Energy and Alternatives of Renewable Energy

Right from our childhood we have been learning in our schools that energy resources such as coal, fuel etc are non-renewable energy resources and that their recreation takes hundreds of years. Such energy resources are not only limited but also become expensive in the process of retrieval. We thus need to reduce our dependence upon these fossil fuels for the energy generation. As a result we are required to look for the alternative sources of energy that are not only renewable but also abundantly available. Energy sources such as solar, biomass, wind power, hydroelectric, geothermal have recently emerged as potential alternatives of renewable energy sources.

Solar energy is the heat and the light from the sun and the conversion of this heat or sunlight into electricity is known as solar power. If on an average there are nearly 300 clear sunny days, then the solar energy incidence alone over India’s land is estimated to be 5000T kwh /year. Now you may ask where and for what can this solar energy be used. Your answer is right here:

Solar water heaters: such heaters are being vastly used in many newly developed residential societies, hotels etc. solar water heaters are deployed on the rooftop. These are capable of generating energy equivalent to 200mw.

Agriculture support: photovoltaic panels radiate electric energy collected from the sunlight which then runs the solar-powered pumps. Evidently this is useful when there is no diesel or the grid electricity to run the motor pumps.

Electrification: even though India is developing at such a high rate, the rural India continues to remain under developed. One of the main reason for this is lack of electricity in the rural areas which hampers the working system. Projects are being planned to electrify the villages of India. Moreover solar lanterns have been built to electrify the households. The ministry of new and renewable energy resources is even offering 30% to 40% subsidy for the cost of theses lanterns. By the year 2022, 20 million solar lamps are expected.

Power grid stabilization: solar power plants equipped with battery storage can are implemented in power grid stations. This serves the purpose of feeding electricity into power grids when the frequency is below 50 Hz.

Electricity driven vehicles: not only is petrol and diesel limited energy resource, we also observe great hikes in their prices every time. The first family solar car was developed in the year 2013. Even in absence of sun, this car can run for 250 miles. Eg Toyota launched Prius in 2012. Later Mahindra launched e20 as the partial solar car in India in march 2013.

Cooking: solar cookers have also been developed for the cooking purposes to save the fuel and electricity. These cookers can reach a temperature of 315 degrees Celsius. But they need to be kept under direct sunlight. Such cookers consist of insulated container and a transparent lid.

There are several ways in which this solar energy can be used. Though this energy resource promises to be unlimited, there are some limitations to it. Firstly, it is not available 24*7. During night, cloudy and rainy days we lack the approach to this energy resource. Secondly, the amount of the land required for the allocation of solar power plants is quiet low. Currently the amount of land required for generation of 40-60 mw energy requires 1 km2 size of land. This may pose a restriction for the further development of solar power plants in India.

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