Every new idea faces some challenges. Those which can rise up to them quickly and even before they become problems are the ones which have a future. Many articles speak of some opposition to Solar Power plants. Some don’t want it to cover large expanse of land, while others find that it changes the scenery around their habitat, thus an eye-sore. Wind power too has faced similar problems.
India has through its National Action Plan for Climate Change, brought about 8 missions of which 3 look at the direction of energy efficiency with scope for renewable. As the power plant through Solar, which is comparatively new in implementation, in India matures, so would the problems. And the problems it would face would be unique to it.
Large solar-plant in India, would not face much problems as long as they are installed in low density, arid to semi arid regions, for now. Although it would be better for the investors to do the Environmental Impact Assessment and have back up plans for adaptation. And those close to rural habitation, must also think of innovation in case pressure in land due to population density increase. Which is a definite possibility in India.
However, Roof-top solar; which in my opinion is the real game changer in the immediate future; would be facing issues which the Indian Solar industry has not yet perhaps anticipated . The problem would be from the potential hazard of glint & glare of reflected , especially in high-density Urban settings. ( even the large rural SPV plants would have the problem if directly under flight path of the air-force / aviation industry ) The sooner the manufacturers and all related stake-holders wise up to it the better it would be for all.
In my earlier article on OPEX Solar I have already started receiving tremendous response. Therefore, I am able to anticipate the issues which could come up first hand. Buildings in any city are of varying hight. Tall buildings overlooking clusters of row-houses or commercial centre like malls, cinema halls and even hospitals and schools. Typical settings where one can seek business in roof -top solar. More often than not, these roof installation would be of a fixed type south-facing system angled in accordance to the latitude of the city. The reason to make them face south is for receiving the maximum sunlight as the sun traverses the sky from dawn to dusk. While this would ensure maximum power-generation, it would also generate maximum ire from the poor souls who would be occupying the buildings which would be bouncing the reflected sunlight. And the Indian summer, well to put it mildly is very bright indeed. Not only would it add to the glare, in-fact the reflected heat if intense could also damage PVC pipes and other materials, if preventive steps are not taken before hand.
So what are the precautions one must take to avoid this situation ? Some article have already covered this issue. However I am for the solution and not flagging the problem and leaving it there. While solar panels are designed to absorb sunlight to convert it into electricity, most commercially available PV panels today lose about 4 percent of their potential power output due to light reflection from the front surface of the cover glass. Solutions are already on the way, with Honeywell launching the SOLARC anti-reflective coating in February 2011. SOLARC materials are based on advanced materials used in semiconductor manufacturing. They are transparent coatings that improve the light transmittance through the glass that covers photovoltaic, or PV, panels, thus increasing the PV module efficiency and power output. These coatings also significantly reduce glare from the glass, allowing the PV panel to better blend with its surroundings.
Here one needs, especially in India to educate the potential investor to be ready to invest a little more on the prevention and precautions with respect to glint & glare. Especially to avoid the opposition, the type I have posted as links through out this article. India, needs the power through SPV. It is the only way to reduce the carbon emission, which is sure to increase as the Country grows. And as all know, carbon emission is a politically loaded subjected. It can bring intense pain or relief in terms of international relations in the years to come.
Should we lose out on the potential of the Sun, which India has in abundance due to wrong application, it would be a tragedy for the Nation.
- India Finalizing Solar Rooftop Policy (solarfeeds.com)
- Aus: Crackdown over roof-top solar scheme blowouts (junkscience.com)
- 80% of UK Farms Want Solar Roofs By 2013 (evoenergy.co.uk)
- Eco-Friendly Solar Power Plant in El Paso, Texas (txu.com)