SOLAR POWER PLANT
4.1 Solar Power Plant Using CSP Technology
The first large-scale solar power plants in the United States were concentrating solar power (CSP) plants. Built in the California desert in the 1980s and 1990s, these plants are still among the largest, most powerful solar generating plants in the world. Several plants have also been in operation since the 1980s in the southwestern United States, and many more are currently in the planning and construction stages. Although there are several different CSP technologies, they all involve reflecting sunlight onto a focal point that contains a heattransfer material. The heat-transfer material, usually synthetic oil or molten salt, is collected in a heat storage unit and eventually used to create steam that powers conventional generators. One advantage of CSP is that at night or on extremely cloudy days, the conventional generators can be run on natural gas or petroleum, allowing the plant to continue to generate power when the sun is not shining. All CSP plants consist of arrays of mirrors. The first type of CSP technology (still used today) works through the use of parabolic troughs, long, curved mirrors that move to follow the path of the sun,
and focus the sun's heat onto a tube in front of the mirror. This dramatically increases the temperature of the heat-transfer material, which in turn boils water and creates steam that drives a generator.
Figure 4.1 Working of a solar power plant using concentrating solar power technology
The diagram above shows sunlight striking the parabolic solar energy collector located on the roof of a home. The collector heats up the transfer fluid, which is held in a special storage tank. This heat is then used to power the absorption cycle air conditioning unit. Home heating and hot water can also be provided utilizing the solar energy collected. Each of the 'solar collectors' is a trough-shaped mirror (with a parabolic cross-section) that tracks the sun and focuses the light on to a tube containing 'heat transfer fluid'—which is normally some kind of oil. The hot oil passes through a 'solar superheater' and 'steam generator' where the heat boils water and creates superheated steam. The steam drives the turbine, the turbine drives the generator and that feeds electricity into the electricity transmission grid. Steam that comes out of the turbine is still quite hot. It is fed through a condenser where it is cooled down by cooling water from a cooling tower. The cooled water is fed back into the steam generator and solar superheater to create superheated steam again, and this is fed back into the turbine to generate more electricity.
4.2 Solar Power Using Photovoltaics
Solar thermal power can only use direct sunlight, called ‘beam radiation’ or Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI), i.e. that fraction of sunlight which is not deviated by clouds, fumes or dust in the
atmosphere and that reaches the earth’s surface in parallel beams for concentration. Hence, it must be sited in regions with high direct solar radiation. Suitable sites should receive at least 2,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of sunlight radiation per m2 annually, whilst best site locations receive more than 2,800 kWh/m2/year. Solar cells produce direct current (DC) power, which fluctuates with the intensity of the irradiated light. This usually requires conversion to certain desired voltages or alternating current (AC), which requires the use of the inverters. Multiple solar cells are connected inside the modules. Modules are wired together to form arrays, then tied to inverter, which produces power with the desired voltage, and frequency/phase (when its AC).
Many residential systems are connected to the grid wherever available, especially in the developed countries with large markets. In these grid-connected PV systems, use of energy storages are optional. In certain applications such as satellites, lighthouses, or in developing countries, batteries or additional power generators are often added as back-ups, which forms stand-alone power systems.
1. Photovoltaic array converts the incoming sunlight into direct current (DC) power electricity. 2. Inverter converts DC into alternating current (AC) power.
3. The Fusebox provides an interconnection point to the consumers or grid. 4. Meter measures the solar energy from the solar array and the building load.
Figure 4.2 Working a solar power plant using photovoltaics
GROWTH OF SOLAR POWER
Sunlight is the most abundant source of potential energy on the planet. If harnessed properly, sunlight could easily exceed current and future electricity demand. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, every hour, enough energy from the sun reaches Earth to meet the world's energy usage for an entire year. Creating solar power by converting sunlight into electricity would lower emissions from electricity generation and decrease long-term energy costs. As solar power becomes more cost-effective, it has the potential to make up a larger share of growing U.S. energy needs. And as it expands in usage, there will be a growing need for more workers— manufacturing workers to make solar panels, construction workers to build power plants, solar photovoltaic installers to install solar panels, and so on.
5.2 Around the world
Commercial concentrated solar power plants were first developed in the 1980s. The 354 MW SEGS CSP installation is the largest solar power plant in the world, located in the Mojave Desert of California. Other large CSP plants include the Solnova Solar Power Station (150 MW) and the Andasol solar power station (150 MW), both in Spain. The 200 MW Golmud Solar Park in China, is the world’s largest photovoltaic plant
5.2.1 Development and deployment
The early development of solar technologies starting in the 1860s was driven by an expectation that coal would soon become scarce. However, development of solar technologies stagnated in the early 20th century in the face of the increasing availability, economy, and utility of coal and petroleum. In 1974 it was estimated that only six private homes in all of North America were entirely heated or cooled by functional solar power systems. The 1973 oil embargo and 1979 energy crisis caused a reorganization of energy policies around the world and brought renewed attention to developing solar technologies. Deployment strategies focused on incentive programs such as the Federal Photovoltaic Utilization Program in the US and the Sunshine Program in Japan. Other efforts included the formation of research
facilities in the US (SERI, now NREL), Japan (NEDO), and Germany (Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE). Between 1970 and 1983 photovoltaic installations grew rapidly, but falling oil prices in the early 1980s moderated the growth of PV from 1984 to 1996. Since 1997, PV development has accelerated due to supply issues with oil and natural gas, global warming concerns, and the improving economic position of PV relative to other energy technologies. Photovoltaic production growth has averaged 40% per year since 2000 and installed capacity reached 39.8 GW at the end of 2010, of them 17.4 GW in Germany. As of October 2011, the largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants in the world are the Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant (Canada, 97 MW), Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station (Italy, 84.2 MW) and Finsterwalde Solar Park (Germany, 80.7 MW). There are also many large plants under construction. The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is a 550 MW solar power plant under construction in Riverside County, California, that will use thin-film solar photovoltaic modules made by First Solar. The Topaz Solar Farm is a 550 MW photovoltaic power plant, being built in San Luis Obispo County, California. The Blythe Solar Power Project is a 500 MW photovoltaic station under construction in Riverside County, California. The Agua Caliente Solar Project is a 290 megawatt photovoltaic solar generating facility being built in Yuma County, Arizona. The California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) is a 250 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, which is being built by SunPower in the Carrizo Plain, northeast of California Valley. The 230 MW Antelope Valley Solar Ranch is a First Solar photovoltaic
project which is under construction in the Antelope Valley area of the Western Mojave Desert, and due to be completed in 2013.
Figure 5.1 Areas in the world having high solar insolation
5.3 Solar power in India
India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, (sunny tropical belt) as seen in fig.5.1 ,an ideal combination for using solar power in India. In the solar energy sector, some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km2 area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 GW to 2,100 GW.
In July 2009, India unveiled a US$19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020.Under the plan, the use of solar-powered equipment and applications would be made compulsory in all government buildings, as well as hospitals and hotels. On 18 November 2009, it was reported that India was ready to launch its National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013. According to a 2011 report by GTM Research and Bridge, India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption at a "furious pace over the next five years and beyond". The falling prices of PV panels, mostly from China but also from the U.S., has coincided with the growing cost of grid power in India. Government support and ample solar resources have also helped to increase solar adoption, but perhaps the biggest factor has been need. India, "as a growing economy with a surging middle class, is now
facing a severe electricity deficit that often runs between 10 and 13 percent of daily need".
5.3.1 Current status
With about 300 clear, sunny days in a year, India's theoretical solar power reception, on only its land area, is about 5 Petawatt-hours per year (PWh/yr) (i.e. 5000 trillion kWh/yr or about 600 TW). The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 1500–2000 sunshine hours per year (depending upon location), which is far more than current total energy consumption. For example, assuming the efficiency of PV modules were as low as 10%, this would still be a thousand times greater than the domestic electricity demand projected for 2015.
5.3.2 Installed capacity
The amount of solar energy produced in India is less than 1% of the total energy demand. The grid-interactive solar power as of December 2010 was merely 10 MW. Government-funded solar energy in India only accounted for approximately 6.4 MW-yr of power as of 2005.However, as of October 2009, India is currently ranked number one along with the United States in terms of solar energy production per watt installed.
5.3.3 Solar Power in Gujarat
Gujarat has been a leader in solar power generation and contributes 2/3rd of the 900 MW power generated in the country.The State has commissioned the Asia’s biggest solar park at Charanka village. The park is already generating 214 MW solar power out of its total power generation capacity of 500 MW. The park has been functioning on multi-developers and multi-beneficiaries paradigm and has been awarded for being the most innovative and environment-friendly project by the CII. With a view to make Gandhinagar a solar city, the State government has launched roof-top solar power generation scheme. Under this scheme, the State has planned to generate five megawatt of solar power by putting solar panels on about 50 state government buildings and on 500 private buildings. The State has also a plan to emulate this project in Rajkot, Surat, Bhavnagar and Vadodara in 2012-13. The State has planned to generate solar power by putting solar panels on the Narmada canal branches. As a part of this scheme, the State has already commissioned one megawatt solar plant at the Narmada Canal near Chandrasan area of Anand taluka. This has helped to stop 90,000 liter water of Narmada river from evaporating.
Rajasthan has a huge potential of solar energy, the climatic conditions of state, makes it ideal for capturing the solar rays in abundance.The climate of Rajasthan is arid and semi arid, the desert of Thar is spreaded on the 2/3rd part of state. These climatic specialties makes it
able to receive almost 300-325 sunny days in a year and 66.4kwh/m2/day of sun radiation, which is second highest amount of sun radiation all over the world. The availability of solar energy in Rajasthan is 6 to 7KW/sqkm, that provide the potential of one lakh MW energy for commercial production capacity every year, out of which only 883 MW is currently being produced. Moreover,Orissa and Andhra pradesh houses some of the best quality reserves of silica.India has come up with a plan to develop ‘60 cities’ as solar cities.It will reduce the demand for fossil fuels by 10% in next 5 years.
5.3.5 Solar engineering training
The Australian government has awarded UNSW A$5.2 million to train next-generation solar energy engineers from Asia-Pacific nations, specifically India and China, as part of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP). Certain programmes are designed to target for rural solar usage development.
5.3.6 Challenges and opportunities
Land is a scarce resource in India and per capita land availability is low. Dedication of land area for exclusive installation of solar arrays
might have to compete with other necessities that require land. The amount of land required for utility-scale solar power plants— currently approximately 1 km2 for every 20–60 megawatts (MW) generated—could pose a strain on India's available land resource. The architecture more suitable for most of India would be a highlydistributed set of individual rooftop power generation systems, all connected via a local grid. However, erecting such an infrastructure, which does not enjoy the economies of scale possible in mass, utilityscale, solar panel deployment, needs the market price of solar technology deployment to substantially decline, so that it attracts the individual and average family size household consumer. That might be possible in the future, because PV is projected to continue its current cost reductions for the next decades and be able to compete with fossil fuel. Some noted think-tanks recommend that India should adopt a policy of developing solar power as a dominant component of the renewable energy mix, since being a densely populated region in the sunny tropical belt, the subcontinent has the ideal combination of both high solar insolation and therefore a big potential consumer base density. In one of the analyzed scenarios, India can make renewable resources such as solar the backbone of its economy by 2050, reining in its long-term carbon emissions without compromising its economic growth potential. According to a 2011 report by GTM Research and Bridge, India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption at a "furious pace over the next five years and beyond". The falling prices of PV panels, mostly from China but also from the U.S., has coincided with the growing cost of grid power in India. Government support and ample solar resources have also helped to
increase solar adoption, but perhaps the biggest factor has been need. India, "as a growing economy with a surging middle class, is now facing a severe electricity deficit that often runs between 10 and 13 percent of daily need".
5.3.7 Government Support
The government of India is promoting the use of solar energy through various strategies. In the latest budget for 2010/11, the government has announced an allocation of 10 billion (US$199.5 million) towards the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission and the establishment of a clean energy fund. It is an increase of 3.8 billion (US$75.8 million) from the previous budget. This new budget has also encouraged private solar companies by reducing customs duty on solar panels by 5% and exempting excise duty on solar photovoltaic panels. This is expected to reduce the cost of a roof-top solar panel installation by 15–20%. The budget also proposed a coal tax of US$1 per metric ton on domestic and imported coal used for power generation. Additionally, the government has initiated a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) scheme, which is designed to drive investment in low-carbon energy projects. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)provides 70 percent subsidy on the installation cost of a solar photovoltaic power plant in North-East states and 30 percentage subsidy on other regions. The detailed outlay of the National Solar Mission highlights various targets set by the government to increase solar energy in the country's energy portfolio.
5.4 Future applications
5.4.1 Rural electrification
Lack of electricity infrastructure is one of the main hurdles in the development of rural India. India's grid system is considerably underdeveloped, with major sections of its populace still surviving off-grid. As of 2004 there are about 80,000 unelectrified villages in the country. Of these villages, 18,000 could not be electrified through extension of the conventional grid. A target for electrifying 5,000 such villages was set for the Tenth National Five Year Plan (2002– 2007). As of 2004, more than 2,700 villages and hamlets had been electrified, mainly using solar photovoltaic systems. Developments in cheap solar technology are considered as a potential alternative that allows an electricity infrastructure consisting of a network of localgrid clusters with distributed electricity generation. It could allow bypassing (or at least relieving) the need to install expensive, lossy, long-distance, centralised power delivery systems and yet bring cheap electricity to the masses. Projects currently planned include 3000 villages of Orissa, which will be lighted with solar power by 2014.
5.4.2 Agricultural support
Solar PV water pumping systems are used for irrigation and drinking water. The majority of the pumps are fitted with a 200–3,000 watt motor that are powered with 1,800 Wp PV array which can deliver
about 140,000 liters of water per day from a total head of 10 meters. By 30 September, 2006, a total of 7,068 solar PV water pumping systems had been installed. Solar driers are used to dry harvests before storage.
5.4.3 Solar water heaters
Bangalore has the largest deployment of rooftop solar water heaters in India. These heaters generate an energy equivalent of 200 MW every day .Bangalore is also the first city in the country to put in place an incentive mechanism by providing a rebate of 50 on monthly electricity bills for residents using roof-top thermal systems. These systems are now mandatory for all new structures. Pune, another city in the western part of India, has also recently made installation of solar water heaters in new buildings mandatory.
Figure 5.2 Solar power plant in Thar Desert,Rajasthan