An Overview Of Technologies Used To Harness Solar and Wind Energy

Sustainable development with consideration to climate change, calls for harnessing cleaner energy sources optimally. India’s growing demand for energy as well as goal to move towards a sustainable energy future depends on its potential to leverage green energy sources. This means, measures and initiatives must be taken to facilitate wind energy potential and solar energy generation capacity in India.

An Overview Of Technologies Used To Harness Solar and Wind Energy

India has already embarked the journey towards a more sustainable energy future by setting to achieve the following two objectives:

  • Source 40% of installed power capacity from non-fossil fuels by 2030.
  • Increase the power generation capacity of renewable sources of energy to 175 GW by 2022.

In this respect, technology is playing a big role which is likely to grow much stronger and huge in near future. The following sections provide an overview of the technologies that are being used to harness solar energy and wind energy in India:

Technology Facilitating Solar Energy Generation in India

A photovoltaic cell absorbs the sunlight, and converts the light directly into electricity with the help of a semi-conductor. A solar calculator, a solar watch and a solar lantern are some items that use this technology to perform their function.

A group of photovoltaic cells is known as a solar panel. In India, such solar panels are installed on rooftops of houses, electronic signboards, alongside streets and parking lots to power lights. Large scale rooftop interactive solar photovoltaic systems are installed by several public sector buildings and big commercial entities to generate more power in order to reduce their utility bills. Large scale solar PV projects can even be connected to grids for utility-scale electricity generation and its efficient distribution.

one of the best things about this technology is that it can be scaled from a few watts to light a single bulb to many megawatts for utility-scale generation.

  • Solar Thermal Energy

Solar thermal technologies convert sun’s energy into heat energy for non-electric use such as heating water in the household and commercial sectors, for thermal heat application in industries and for drying in agriculture. This technology can serve as an ideal alternative to fossil fuel usage for such applications.

  • Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Technologies (CSP)

CSP involves a solar field, created using a configuration of mirrors, to concentrate sunlight onto a receiver that carries a special kind of heat transfer fluid. As the temperature of the fluid rises, it generates heat energy which is then stored and transferred to a turbine for generating electricity on demand. CSP technologies are used for utility-scale production of electricity.

Technology Facilitating Wind Energy Potential in India  

  • Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are devices that convert kinetic energy from the wind into electricity. Wind turbines that are used for power generation are manufactured in a wide range of vertical and horizontal axis types. Utility-scale generation of electricity is being made possible by using arrays of large wind turbines known as wind farms. Smallest turbines are used for battery charging for boats and caravans. Slightly larger turbines are  used by the residential sector to meet their domestic power supply needs.

Government can encourage deployment of such technologies at domestic as well as utility-scale levels. Public sector banks and financial institutions would need to play a big role to make these technologies successful in helping India realize its full potential of harnessing such renewable sources of power.

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