Troubled by power cuts, Indians go green with solar energy
Mai 3, 2010 - Xinhua
As rising mercury began scorching India this month, frequent electricity cuts are making the situation worse.
To find a solution to the ever-present problem, Suraj Berwal, a resident of Gurgaon in India's northern Haryana state, is on a mission to explore alternate energy resources.
"Electricity is not at all reliable these days. There is an acute shortage of power supple and even inverters, which provide temporary relief, are failing. I'm looking for solar energy option which can recharge my inverter and can give some relief in this heat," said Berwal, who was scouting through various stalls displaying solar energy-based products at an exhibition.
The two-day Energy Fair in Gurgaon, which was held last week, was especially held to "create awareness and disseminate information among children, community and corporate sectors about alternate energy esources and to increase the use of green energy, " said Samit Jain of Advit Foundation which organized the fair.
On display were solar water heaters, lanterns, bulbs, street lights, gate lights, cooker, lamps, mobile chargers and fans.
Puneet Ahuja, who mainly supplies his solar energy based appliances in rural areas, said the "concept is picking up" in urban areas too.
"People arebecoming more sensitive to climate change and they have started looking towards alternate clean energy resources," said he.
Partial use of solar energy based appliances and inverter could reduce the monthly electricity bill charges, reasoned Berwal.
"I don't knowhow much it will reduce my bill. But even if it does cut the chargesby 20 percent, I'll be happy," said Berwal, adding that going the solar way will make him less dependent on erratic electricity supply.
India gets abundant solar radiation and is seriously working to tap it to bridge the power supply shortage in the face of robust economic growth, especially in the manufacturing sector.
"India's geographical position puts it in excellent position to harness solar energy 300 days a year," says Ritesh Khera, an energy consultant.
According to government statistics, India receives about3,000 hours of sunshine every year, equivalent to over 5,000 trillionk Wh.
At present India's power sector, which has a total installed capacity of approximately 1,46,753 Megawatt (MW), is heavily dependent on coal-based (about 54 percent) and hydro-based (25 percent) energy.
About eight percent is generated from renewable sources and the rest from gas and nuclear.
As carbon emission and climate change are becoming the buzzwords, India is investing a lot on green and clean energy to meet the increasing power demand and also to reduce carbon footprint.
The Ministry of New Renewable Energy has been facilitating harnessing of renewable energy and power to rural areas for lighting and cooking, apart from urban, industrial and commercial applications.
Some of the commercially viable available products are still far away from becoming household appliances as they are expensive and less convenient to use.
"We need to increase the efficiency of solar cells. At present it's 15 to 20 percent it needs to be 50 percent levels in order to make them economically viable," opined Khera.