Amit Paranjape’s Blog

Germany sets new solar power record

Posted in Current Affairs, Science & Technology by Amit Paranjape on May 27, 2012

Germany is the world leader in Solar Power.

Solar Farm in Germany (Image Credits: Wikipedia)

Came across this interesting article from Reuters about Germany’s Solar Power Record: “Germany sets new solar power record, institute says”

This Friday and Saturday, when sunlight was quite good, Germany generated 22 GW (1 GW or Giga Watt = 1,000 Mega Watt) of solar power for a few hours in the afternoon! That is nearly 50% of its power requirements (note requirements on weekends are less, since factories and offices are closed). Still this is quite a milestone!  For comparison, the biggest power consuming state in India, Maharashtra consumes about 15 GW of power.

Came across quite a few interesting data points from the article:

– Germany generates about 4% of its total electricity needs annually via solar power.

– Total renewable energy generation is 20% of its total needs.

– Total installed capacity of Solar Power in Germany is nearly half of the installed capacity in the whole world.

– Germany added 7.5 GW of installed power generation capacity in 2012 and 1.8 GW more in the first quarter for a total of 26 GW capacity.

– Germany has a total installed solar power capacity of 24 GW

– From the article: “Utilities and consumer groups have complained the FIT for solar power adds about 2 cents per kilowatt/hour on top of electricity prices in Germany that are already among the highest in the world with consumers paying about 23 cents per kw/h.”

– But the solar power costs might come down as photo-voltaics become cheaper each year.

Do read the full article here and also visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany for more details.

Some quick implications for India

India has lot more hours and months of sun as compared to Germany. Cost of photo-voltaics is coming down, making solar power more competitive. Solar power seems a lot more attractive renewable energy option, as compared to wind. Gujarat has taken the lead in installing solar power. Maharashtra, Karnataka and other states are also setting up solar fields, but the progress is slow.

India needs more policy focus and better execution to make solar power a successful reality.

Currently, China is the world’s major exporter of photo-voltaic cells. India needs to expand production of photo-voltaics. Similarly, other new related areas such as concentrated photo-voltaics (CPV) should also explored.

It is worth noting that Solar Power (or for that matter, any renewable energy source) is not a panacea for energy requirements… at least definitely not in the coming decade. Even in Germany today, Solar Power contributes single digit percentages annually of the total energy requirements. Thus, India will still need to expand its electricity production from conventional and nuclear power sources. Still, in an energy starved India, 10% renewable solar power in a decade, with no dependence on foreign fuel, would be a great step.

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Pune – A Global Leader In Green/Alternative Energy R&D – List Of Key Players

Posted in Pune, Science & Technology by Amit Paranjape on March 16, 2010

Solar Thermal (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

  

Call it by whatever name: Green Energy /Sustainable Solutions /Cleantech /Alternative Energy /etc. The quest for environment friendly, cheap and renewable energy is probably the most important technology problems of the 21st century.
 

Wind Turbine (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

  

  Various options are being under development for a few decades but still all of these put together constitute a small percentage (in most countries – single digit) of total energy consumption. These options include: Wind, Bio-Fuels, Solar Photo-Voltaics, Solar-Thermal, Geo-Thermal, Tidal Power, etc. The only renewable energy form that has been used effectively(in non-trivial amounts) is hydel power.        

In this brief blog, I am attempting to capture a list of interesting companies and R&D organizations in Pune that are involved in these fields. Would appreciate any inputs (and details) on companies/organizations that you are aware of, and that are not listed in here. Please add them as comments, and I will consolidate them into this blog post.        

Praj Industries www.praj.net        

Praj is a global leader in  bio-ethanol, bio-diesel, etc. Their R&D work is focused on improving the chemical processes for synthesizing these fuels. Here is a brief write-up by PuneTech’s Navin Kabra about a visit to the Praj R&D Center: Praj Matrix – world class bio/chem/engineering research facility in Pune        

Thermax www.thermaxindia.com         

Thermax has been an important Indian (as well as global) player in Thermal Engineering for many decades. Their focus includes Solar Thermal, Geo-Thermal, Waste-Heat Recycling and related areas.        

Suzlon Energy www.suzlon.com        

Suzlon Energy is amongst the top wind power companies in the world. Headquartered and founded here in Pune, it has a global presence in Europe, North America, Australia and in many other countries.        

National Chemical Laboratory www.ncl-india.org        

National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) is the premier research institution in India (and one of the top ones globally), involved in R&D in chemistry and chemical engineering. Their work includes research on bio-fuels, associated enzymes, etc.        

 BAIF www.baif.org.in        

BAIF, based in Urali Kanchan near Pune has been at the forefront of sustainable rural development for many decades. Here is a list of their research areas: http://www.baif.org.in/aspx_pages/progress_at_a_glance.pdf    

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