Solar power plants using the rivers in Manipur
Prof I Tomba Singh
With the rapid depletion of fossil fuel reserves, it is feared that the world will soon run out of its energy resources. Energy has an established positive correlation with human population and economic growth. Primary energy requirements are expected to increase manifolds in the years to come. Providing adequate, affordable and clean energy is a prerequisite for eradicating poverty and improving productivity.
The inevitable increase in the use of fossil fuels alongside a country’s economic growth presents associated side effects of threat to the Nation’s energy security as well as environmental degradation through climate change. A feasible alternative to the indiscriminate burning of fossil fuels lies in the accelerated use of renewable energy. Major types of renewable energy sources include solar, wind, hydro and biomass, all of which have huge potential to meet future energy challenges. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology is one of the first among several renewable energy technologies that have been adopted world-wide for meeting the basic needs of electricity particularly in remote areas. In tropical countries, which have sunshine almost throughout the year in most parts, solar energy is one of the most viable options.
This form of renewable energy occupies less space compared to the space occupied by hydropower projects. The amount of solar energy incident on the earth’s surface has been estimated approximately 1.5x10x18 KWH/year which is about 10,000 times the current annual energy consumption of the entire world. In fact, a standalone solar photovoltaic system does not provide a continuous supply of energy due to reasonable and periodic variations.
Therefore in order to satisfy the load demand, grid connected energy systems are now becoming promising options that combine solar and conventional energy systems.
A solar cell is a device which converts photons in solar rays to direct-current (DC) and voltage. A typical silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell is thin wafer consisting of a very thin layer of phosphorous doped (N-type) silicon on top of a ticker layer of boron doped (P-typed) silicon. An electrical field is created near the top surface of the cell where there two materials are in contact (the P-N junction). (To be contd)