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Climatic conditions, location ideal for solar power projects

Published on 30th June, Edition 26, 2014

 

Solar power can meet wholly the world demand of electricity. It has the capability to provide several times the country’s energy demand. The world’s covered desert area of 40 percent can supply all of universe the electricity enough of a need. Even the Gobi Desert could supply electricity to world. It has a discontinuous production of supplying electricity and is generally kept by storage or another energy source with wind, power and hydropower. Its major problem is with the escalating installation cost. But as time is passing the cost of solar power installation is decreasing.

Many developing countries do not have large funds to build huge solar plants but somehow or another they are solving their problem by introducing small solar application. Solar power works by taking energy from sun and using solar panels. It is usually installed on roof, to convert into usable-electricity.
Solar energy helps to reduce the release of carbon dioxide on earth and provide beneficial health from the clean air in houses. It reduces deforestation and time of the people who spend a larger time in gathering wood, allowing more time to work on productive and income generating activities. The use of solar energy system increases agriculture and industrial production by creating rich soil and smooth water flows.

Many countries are utilizing solar energy for a wide range of users including cooking, water heating. Solar water heating water is a confirmed technology with hundred of thousand units being used in this world. Utilizing the solar water heating can reduce about 50 to 60 percent domestic water cost. In this context the gas and electricity saved can be utilized in the industrial sector.

Spain has been the forefront of universal efforts to produce solar energy as high as 432 MW, hitting the United States by 10 MW. It has opened the largest solar power station, overtaking the United States as the biggest solar generator in the world. Spain is one of the countries of Europe with more days of hour of sunshine. It exports 80 percent of the solar energy to Germany.

According to official sources another 600 MW will be added to the grid and by 2013 it is anticipated the overall solar capacity to be 2,500 MW. In Spain the world’s biggest solar power tower, Abengo began its commercial operation of a 20 MW solar plant tower near Seville in the late April 2009, called the PS20.

Israel has successfully introduced solar energy. There is no oil in Israel and it does not maintain a cordial relation with Arab oil producing countries and so in order to maintain its economic stability and security it has given utmost importance to solar energy. With abundant sunshine available in the country it has made immense use of solar energy for the economic development of its country. The innovative and its advanced research have made stride in solar energy to such an extent competitive with fossil fuel technology.

India is situated in the Earth’s equatorial Sun Belt. It receives abundant solar radiation. It is said that India experiences clear bright weather for 250 to 300 days per annum. India has kept aside 35,000 kilometre region of Thar Desert that could be sufficient in generating 700 to 21,000 gigwats for the proposed large solar energy projects. Solar power in India will cost less than coal energy in the next five to six years. The cost of solar power in India will come down to Rs5 to 6 per kilowatt-hour per unit.
India has disclosed that by 2020 it will be mandatory to use solar- powered applications and equipment in every government buildings, hospitals and hotels. In regard to use of solar powered application and equipments in every government buildings, hotels and hospitals India shared the first position with the United States.

Pakistan is facing a chronic energy problem. It is unfortunate that there is less production of electricity from hydro power source during hot and dry months and this cannot keep with the increased rise in energy demand. About 80 percent of the population lives in villages scattered all around the country. Their residence is far from the grid station transmission lines of the national grid. Therefore, in this context it is not economically feasible to connect these villages with the transmission lines to the grid.

 

In spite of all the hurdles, the prospects of solar energy are very bright as Pakistan receives high level of solar radiation throughout the year. Solar energy systems have already being developed but more have to be developed and introduced to generate economy and improve the standard of living of the poor people. Solar system meets the necessary requirement of rural areas and reduces the pressure on traditional energy sources in urban areas. The rest can be utilized fruitfully for other domestic and industrial needs.
The solar technology is not so much sophisticated and is likely to be successful from commercial point of view. Solar Energy Research Center has been able to set up an up-to-date facility for the large production of solar geysers and cookers and provide all necessary technical, support, service, and implementation and management services. Already many have shown their interest in obtaining the Solar Energy Research Center system for cooking and water heating.

For years, Pakistanis have cried through summer power cuts, but now the present government plans to exploit the sun’s large heat to tackle the country’s chronic energy crisis. The energy crises largely demands that Pakistan should reduce its dependence on costly fossil fuels and make well use of its natural resources like the sunlight or even wind also.

The adoption and utilization of modern solar and geothermal technologies including heat pumps, solar water heater and solar water pumps in Pakistan would lessen dependence on fossil fuel that is extensively imported from UAE and Saudi Arabia. The developed and developing countries have swiftly diversified their energy mix resources and there is no reason why Pakistan blessed by Almighty Allah with lot of sunlight should adopt solar energy as a first step in the domestic sector.

Pakistan recently witnessed the inauguration of its first large-scale Solar Power Park in Bahawalpur. This solar power park will start generating 100 Megawatts of electricity in December this year while the output of the solar power plant would reach 1,000 megawatts by 2016.

Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park project is a joint venture of the government of Punjab, Bank of Punjab and TBEA Ltd of China. It is Pakistan’s first large scale solar power project and one of the largest in the world. Entire solar park, with 1000 MW production ability is estimated to cost around US$ 1.5 billion. The expected life of plant would be 25 years. Around 22 solar power projects having a cumulative capacity of 772.99 MW are under different stages of development and can achieve commercial operation by 2015-16.

Ten power projects are also being set up in Thar to tap the solar heat for power generation. When completed, Pakistan will stand in the list of top 10 countries to produce more than 1,000 MW of solar energy. Energy companies working in Pakistan have said that plans for a 50-megawatt solar power plant would help the country avert a long-term energy crisis.

Pakistan has great potential for exporting solar panels to European and African markets, which would, boosts country economy. Following the European Union granted Technischer Uberwachungs Verein TUV (a German Technical Association) certificate to a Pakistani solar panel manufacturing company Tesla Technologies, a number of European Union and African countries have placed export orders for exporting Pakistani manufactured solar panel to these countries.

German solar energy company, Conergy, has recently announced that it has teamed with Hong Kong project developer Ensunt to build a 50-megawatt solar power plant in Pakistan. Conergy described the project as the biggest solar power effort for the country and one of the most ambitious in the region. “With 8-9 hours of sunshine per day and annual insolation values of more than 1,700 kilowatt hours per square meter, the climatic conditions in Pakistan are ideal (for solar power),” according to Conergy.

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