After having effectively recognized its management in wind power generation, India is now focusing its examining capability towards the generation of solar power. A beginning has been made through group of large scale solar power projects in desert areas due to their maximum experience to high intensity sunlight. Our country has been set apart with as many as 300 clear and sunny days annually which makes it ideally suited to harvest solar energy and generate solar power to cater for the needs of its people.
Solar panels in India are based on two technologies namely solar photovoltaic and solar thermal. Commonly referred to as PV, solar photovoltaic technology entails the successful harnessing of solar rays into electricity which after being generated can either be fed into a grid or used by households to operate various home appliances. This technology works on the principle of using solar cells in form of fine silicon wafers to capture the sunlight and convert it into electricity. Solar panels based on this technology are of four different types, the most common being the crystalline silicon panels in spite of the fact that silicon as a basic element is in short supply and hence expensive.
On the other hand, solar thermal technology has been so designed that it can harness the sunlight directly to produce solar power so that appliances like water heaters and solar cookers can be operated without using electricity. The obvious downside of this technology is that it cannot operate in cloudy conditions and this drawback has been successfully overcome in the PV method. Every PV cell is constituted with one or multiple layers of semi-conducting material like silicon which is capable of generating an electric field on receiving sunlight thus ensuring flow of electricity.
Some of the variations of PV technology as applied by solar panels which are manufactured in India are solar shingles and thin film technologies and these are meant as improvements to the basic model. While solar shingles are power generators which are capable of generating solar power even when the panels are placed in partially shaded areas, thin film technologies are bereft of polysilicon and hence are more affordable.
Although solar panels have plenty of latent potential in a place like India there are other constraints which have hindered their growth and development. One of the foremost concerns is availability of land since installation of the system requires a lot of area for the panel as well as its accessories. The per capita availability of land being scarce in India and this in it is proving to be a major constraint in the widespread application and use of solar energy. Another drawback is the slow speed of research in this sector in our country in spite of it being the fastest evolving source of energy all over the world. India being way behind the global momentum in the development of solar power, there are many aspects of this technology which need to be looked into prior to putting it on the market.
In India, there are a number of different applications in which solar panels can be used like water pumping systems for irrigation, distribution of drinking water, solar water heaters in upcoming cities and electrification of rural areas. The main intention behind these applications is to reduce the loss of electricity over long distance transmission and provision of eco friendly power at an affordable cost.