CHENNAI: Choosing a site for solar installation is very vital for Solar power developers. Though India is gifted with abundant sunlight, the solar radiation is different across parts of India.
For example Rajasthan,Gujarat is a viable choice for solar power projects because the radiation is better than its neighouring states.
Currently, India’s solar power developers while choosing a site for their project, use NASA‘s satellite images to identify the best locations. But these data are not adequate and precise.
Now, an obscure government agency based in Chennai is promising to change that. It hopes to deliver within two years a state-of-the-art solar atlas of India that could clear a major hurdle obstructing speedy development of solar power projects.
The atlas, which will identify the solar hotspots where the sun’s radiation has optimum intensity for power generation, will enable developers to accurately pinpoint locations for projects, according to the Centre for Wind Energy Technology, which is creating the database.
The expectation is that project developers, armed with the information, will be able to predict the plant’s output with reasonable accuracy. Also, they can make a better choice of which solar technology (photovoltaic, solar thermal or any other) to use.
There are mixed reactions about the accuracy of such a tool by the solar industry professionals-as solar radiation data can be collected both by the satellites as well as through ground based measurements. The data collected at ground level is more reliable than through satellite. A gap of 10% between actual radiation and data collected will result in 20% fall in energy output.
An important revelation was the fact , that pollution-free Ladakh is more suitable for a photovoltaic project than even Rajasthan. The agency is also developing an algorithm to validate the data. This was the result of .measuring radiation in 51 locations in India