Thursday, May 29, 2008

Surging Solar Industry

The fossil fuels are fast approaching an unfortunate extinction. As the next 50 years roll down the fossil fuels will no longer meet the demand of the world. With oil over 100 dollars a barrel and the treat to the global warming raising concerns across the government, the need for viable or and everlasting source of alternative energy has become a necessity. What we can do now? We should do what we should have done a long time ago. Government should think about the investing in the multiple energy sources. Amidst the hue and cry, the primary source of energy for life on earth- the solar energy has been the most after energy sources to substitute fossil fuels. We have been using the solar energy as far back as the human have existed on this planet. In the years to come solar energy will not be only be one of the potential means for countries to move towards an enhanced energy security, but will also play a vital role in the global energy equation.

India receives solar energy equivalent to over 5000 trillion KW/year, which is far more than the total energy consumption in India. Being located in the tropical region, the country experiences clear weather during the major portion of the year. At present only 0.2 per cent of solar energy is being used annually. Companies all around the world are trying to bridge the gap between high energy prises and global warming through solar PV cost in order to achieve grid parity. The country like India, too need to participate in this effort, as significant gap exists between power requirement and generation. With the introduction of the Special Incentive package scheme for semiconductors and solar cells, the solar industry in India is on the hype. The solar energy business in India is nailed down at four to five billion presently and is expected to touch six billion in the next three to four years. Globally the solar PV market is expected to grow over $40 billion by 2010. Investments in solar power are encouraging companies like Moser Baer, Signet Solar, Tata BP Solar and Sun-Technics to set up their manufacturing unit and R&D units in India.

The main focus is on the rural areas that offer more than 70% of the solar energy potential. Premier solar has electrified a large number of villages in the north and the eastern region and Jharkhand under the under the rural electrification programme under the aegis of MNRE. Tata BP Solar got orders for implementing 500 to 600 water pumping systems in Punjab at the cost of 160 million Rs. It was even chosen by the Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency to implement a 166 million rupee project to electrify 80 villages in Leh and Kargil districts.

Due to the high initial cost, fund for solar energy is dependent o government subsidies. The only thing that is needed now is some more knowledge and information to increase awareness, financial incentives to customers and manufacturers to help more and more players enter this business.

Aparana Chauhan


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