The sun produces an unbelievable amount of energy that reaches the earth. The amount of energy that is absorbed by the earth in one hour is more energy than mankind uses in one year. The total amount of solar energy reaching the earth in one year is huge twice as much energy as ever existed from all sources of coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium combined.
India has a vast potential for solar power generation since about 58% of the total land area (1.89 million km2) receives annual average Global insolation above 5 kWh/m2/day.
The average intensity of solar radiation received over India is 200 MW/km2 (megawatt per kilometer square) with 250–325 sunny days in a year.
Being a densely populated country with residential, agricultural and industrial priorities, availability of land for SPPs is of serious concern in some parts and needs further investigation using spatio-temporal data.
Representative Image (Source: Green Peace)
Indian space scientists have now identified vast tracts of solar energy hot spots in central and western India with high electricity generation potential, nine months in a year.
“We have shared our data with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. It will be useful for anyone planning to set up commercial solar energy plant,” space scientist Bimal K Bhattacharaya, who led the effort at the Isro’s Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad told Deccan Herald reporter.
Relying on the satellite (Kalpana-1) data, researchers categorised the country from “very low”; to “very high” solar energy potential. The zones with high to very high quantity (2,500–3,500 kilowatt hour per sq mt per year) of assured solar energy are identified as hot-spots.
The hot spots fall in parts of western and central India, including Chhattisgarh, with promising pockets in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The SAC solar map is better than the existing government maps that are prepared on the basis of data from 45 ground stations.
The interpolation from such sparse network produces large errors (60–70%) due to large uncertainties coming from the cloud cover estimates.
Recent land use statistics highlights the availability of barren or unculturable land in many states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
It is observed that the per capita electricity consumption is recorded to be the highest in Western India (1029.52 kWh/year) followed by Southern and Northern regions.
Most of the identified solar hotspots are also in these regions, and hence solar power generation could reduce transmission losses due to its decentralized distributed nature. (Source: Deccan Herald)