India sees solar energy as an option to reduce the energy crisis

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Coimbatore, Oct 8 : With the much-awaited nuclear deal finally getting the nod in the US Congress, scientists across the country foresee a solution to the energy crisis. In the meantime they feel that the immediate solution to India's energy problem lies in tapping of solar energy.

Three decades long barriers for nuclear commerce have crumbled opening the doors for setting up state of art nuclear power projects and access to nuclear fuel, but the problem is not going to ease in near future as nuclear projects have long gestation periods. According to the United Nations Human Development report, India suffers a huge power deficit with over 400 million of its billion-plus people having no access to electricity. Considering this, the scientists believe that government should concentrate on tapping the conventional sources of energy like wind and solar energy to meet the country's immediate energy requirements.

"Although we have got nuclear deal it would take some time before the deal actually materializes in terms of electrical supply. Where as the solar energy is available, right now various ways of tapping the solar energy is possible. The cells are easily available and you can convert the solar energy into electricity and use it for various appliances," said Professor T. Michael Kumar, Director, School of Mechanical Science, Karunya University.

Most parts of the country receive clear sunshine for major part of the year.

However, only about 1, 748 MW power is produced from solar energy while India needs 130,000 MW of electricity every year. According to one estimate, peak demand in India today exceeds electricity supply by 14 per cent.

The vast Indian countryside, where more than two-thirds of the country's 1.2 billion people live, accounts for no more than 13 per cent of electricity consumption while some 40 per cent of the country's electricity supply is lost in transmission as well as due to theft.

Renewable energy sources contribute about five percent of the country's electricity while coal-fired thermal power stations account for about 65 per cent of the total capacity and in the process pollute environment.

Solar energy with an appropriate technology promises to be one of the most replenishing, pollution free and inexhaustible sources of energy.

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