Solar Energy - An Inside Story

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Sun is the greatest source of energy and thus Solar Energy is the most readily available source of energy among all other available renewable and non-renewable sources. No Single country or individual is entitled to it as happens with crude oil, and is, therefore, free to everyone.

Solar energy is the most important non-conventional source of energy, especially in case of India because India receives one of the highest solar radiation among all the countries and doesn't requires extensive scientific research major investment as is the case with hydropower and wind energy. On top of everything, solar produces zero emission, thus helps to reduce the greenhouse effect Solar energy has been used since ancient times but in its most primitive form. Before 1970, few countries where doing some research and developments were made to exploit solar energy more efficiently but most of these works remained mainly academic. But the dramatic rise in the oil prices during the late 1970s triggered many countries to promote extensive research and development programs to exploit solar energy for commercial uses.

When we hang our clothes to dry in the sun, we use its energy. In the same way, solar panel absorbs the sun's heat energy to give heat for cooking & for heating water. Such systems are available and are being extensively used in home and factories.

Solar energy also has potential to meet our electric power requirements through Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) cells. Solar radiations incident on the Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) gets converted into DC current directly. This electricity can either be used as it is or can be stored in batteries and be used later during the night-time.

SPV can be used for number of applications such as:
1. Street lighting.
2. Water pumping for irrigation.
3. Desalination of saline water in coastal regions.
4. Powering of remote telecommunication repeater stations.
5. Domestic lighting.
6. Running various equipment at educational institutions & factories & much more.

Recent trends and developments show that millions of households in the world will be using solar energy in the next few years. In India too, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency & Ministry of Non-conventional energy sources are making a suitable programme to have solar energy in more than a million households by the year 2022. However, to make the program successful people's participation is essential. India is one of the few countries with long days and tropical temperature zone, in most of the areas, thus it's highly accredited for harnessing solar energy for a number of applications in India.