Solar Photovoltaics in India

Begun as far back as in the mid 70s solar photovoltaics programme of the Government of India is one of the largest in the World. While the rest of the world has progressed tremendously in production of basic silicon monocrystalline photoltaic cells, in India the major players are Central Electronics Ltd, BHEL, REIL and the other manufacturers of SPV modules are in fact assemblers sourcing the cells and carrying out assembly. Where this segment of basic manufacturing has not shown much growth in India and is unlikely also in the near future due to high costs involved in manufacturing monocrystalline silicon cells from scratch, the market is growing for SPV applications based products with the active encouragement of the government.

Electricity and social development go hand in hand. Rural areas of India are so far-flung that in some cases it is decided not to lay down conventional electricity lines due to the small populace to be served and high cost of laying lines.

Conventional gensets are also not feasible due to recurring maintenance problems. The best solution under the circumstances is solar photovoltaic based systems to generate power, run irrigation pumping sets and home lighting and streetlights.

In addition to offering subsidy on these products government is also offering training on PV technology, PV system designs and related fields.

The programme of MNES comprises of promoting use of PV technology to provide lighting in villages in the form of :

Community lighting systems

Capacity usually 1KW to 2.5 KW

Portable solar lanterns

Small 10Wp SPV module connected to a 12V7AH battery lighting 7 W CFL lamp for 3 hours a day

Street lights

Built around a 75Wp SPV module charging a 100-130AH battery to run a 11W CFL lamp for dusk to dawn operation.

Fixed home lighting systems

Based on 35-50Wp SPV module, powering two CFLs each of 9 or 11W to work 4-5 hours per day. Some systems also incorporate facility to run a small TV set or a fan from the power supply.

Water Pumping

Typically 1KW DC motor based pumping for shallow pumping.

Reliefs offered by government on SPV manufacturers and users of SPV based products :

v 100% depreciation in the first year of installation of the systems

v No excise duty for manufacturers

v Low import tariff for several raw materials and components

v Soft loans to users, intermediaries and manufacturers.

Entrepreneurs worldwide wishing to tap the Indian markets will find it a rewarding experience. A local partner helps..

So go on.spread the light..

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