India is the world’s third largest consumer of electricity, despite this, more than 300 million Indians do not have access to electricity. To meet the staggering demand for electricity by its rising population, the country is turning to environment friendly and cost effective renewable sources of energy. India aims to supply 24x7 electricity to its people by 2022. To achieve this, the country is focusing on developing innovative solutions and undertake energy efficiency initiatives.
India is a perennially sunny country and if tapped properly, solar power can prove to be a game changer for India in the next few years. A clean renewable resource with zero emissions, solar has tremendous potential to be energy harnessed using a variety of devices.
Recently, engineering students in Kolkata have developed a solar based device that can supply power perpetually 24 hours a day all year long. The device is a combination of solar and hydel power generation techniques and can be scaled to any size. Furthermore, from hilly areas to multi story buildings, the device is suited for all types of landscape.
The device includes a solar pump and a water storage system that has two tanks at different elevation. The solar modules generate power during the day and run the water pump. Water is pumped from the lower tank into the upper tank and then flows back to the lower tank. A turbine is placed in between to generate electricity from the flowing water. During day time the solar pump utilizes solar energy for operation and during night the energy stored in the solar power backup system is used to run the pump. Thus, the continuous flow of water keeps generating power 24x7.
In theory, two 200 x 600 meter tanks, with a 50 meter elevation between them, are required to generate 1 megawatt of power. The cost of such a system is estimated to be around Rs. 9 crore. While the figure may seem quite high, the government is already exploring the technique’s potential and has planned a 100 kilowatt pilot project in hills of Eastern India. A smaller version of the device that produces about 100 watts of power 24x7 is successfully operating in a four story building of Kolkata.
Moreover, the inventors are also planning to harvest rainwater in the hilly areas to fill the lower tank. This will eliminate the need for a river or any other natural source to provide the water for the system.
India is a signatory to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris. The convention stressed upon the urgent need for cutting down the emissions of greenhouse gases. By 2030, India plans to reduce its greenhouse emissions to one third of the levels in 2005. Such an aggressive timeline requires some aggressive action as well. A disruptive technology that can reduce the cost of energy generation is the need of the hour for India. The solar device is an inventive first step by an Indian establishment in this direction and we hope there are many more to come.
In the meanwhile, roof-top solar installations and commercial solar power plants are already revolutionizing the way Indian homeowners consume electricity. Roof-top solar is being promoted by the Indian government to make urban and rural homes self-sufficient in electricity. In many parts of the country, people are already saving big on their electricity bills by opting for on-grid solar power setup for their homes. Nowadays, free solar calculators are also available online which help users in buying the best solar solution as per their energy requirements. Top solar panel and battery storage brands like Luminous, also offer extended battery storage life and up to 25 years of panel life, thus increasing the value proposition of a home solar panel setup.
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