Solar radiation sustains all forms of life on earth. The main features of solar radiation are its wide spread distribution, inexhaustible supply and pollution free source of energy. India receives solar energy equivalent to about 500 trillion kWh per annum, more than enough to provide for the entire country’s needs.
In India, the daily solar energy incidence varies from 4 – 7 kWh per m2 and many regions in the country enjoy 250 to 300 sunny days annually.
Types of Solar Energy Systems
Solar Photovoltaic Systems
Photovoltaic (PV) systems generate electricity from the light of the sun’s rays. Broadly, solar PV systems can be classified as thin film or crystalline solar PV systems. Owing to their modularity, solar PV systems can be implemented on small rooftops to large MW, scale ground mounted power plants.
Some of the key applications for solar PV include
- Utility scale solar power plants
- Rooftop solar power plants
- Solar streetlights
- Solar lanterns
- Solar water pumps
Solar Thermal Systems
Solar thermal systems recover energy from the heat of the sunlight. Unlike solar PV which can be used only to generate electricity, solar thermal systems can be used for power production or for heating/cooling applications. Thus, solar thermal systems can be used in a range of applications – from simple solar water heaters, to solar air heating and air conditioning systems, to medium temperature thermal applications, and finally to produce power, through concentrating solar power systems.
Key applications for solar PV include
- Solar water heaters
- Solar dryers
- Solar air conditioners
- Solar industrial process heating
- Concentrating solar thermal
- Concentrating solar power
Solar Energy in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy
The state came up with an ambitious solar energy policy in 2012, with the goal of 3000 MW of solar power in Tamil Nadu by 2015. More about the policy from here
Chief Minister’s Solar Powered Green House Scheme
The Govt. of Tamil Nadu has launched Solar Powered Green House Scheme. Under this scheme 3 lakh houses will be constructed with solar powered lighting systems over a period of 5 years from 2011-12 to 2015-16 for the benefit of poor in rural areas.
More about the scheme from here
Energisation of Street Lights through Solar Power
The Govt. of Tamil Nadu has decided to energise 1 lakh street lights in village panchayats through solar power over a period of 5 years up to 2016. More about the scheme from here
MNRE Capital Subsidy Scheme for Offgrid and Decentralised Solar Applications Plants Solar PV
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) provides financial incentives for rooftop and offgrid solar power plants. Details of the scheme are provided here.
Solar Water Heaters
Details of MNRE benchmark costs and financial incentives for solar water heaters are provided here