Located on the western ghats of India, Gujarat is popularly known as the jewel of western India. The state stands sixth in the country in terms of geographical area. This and the climatic condition makes the state a favorable place for energy generation through solar. The state’s several initiatives in the field of solar have opened its doors to become the fourth largest state in the country to install maximum rooftop solar panels. Being one of the fastest-growing states to adopt several rooftop and Solar projects, the state accounts for 2.6 gigawatts of commissioned solar power. The state has successfully implemented awareness drives lead programs and strong policies to encourage rapid growth of the adoption of rooftop solar power.
The Solar Industry in Gujarat
Gujarat state leads the solar power generation in India. The state’s arid atmosphere has developed a huge scope of power generation through solar. Gujarat stands sixth in the list of largest installed solar power generation capacity in India. The total energy generation capacity through solar is 35.77 gigawatt potentially. The total solar power generation capacity through grid interaction is 2.9 gigawatts as recorded on March 21st, 2020.
Gujarat is the first state in India to adopt a solar power generation policy. The Kishan Sarvodaya scheme helps the farmers of Gujarat to get access to electricity for their irrigation purposes during the daytime. By this scheme, the farmers of Gujarat are benefited. The state has been working in the power sector to help the farmers. Gujarat believes and has been working towards the mantra of one sun one world one grid.
One of the most developed states in the field of solar in the country is Gujarat. It also leads to the solar power generation capacity in India. The state has a high potential for solar power generation. This potential is due to the state’s assets like large areas of land, proper transmission distribution, and connectivity infrastructures.
Asia’s largest solar park which is built near the village of Charanka in the Patan district is commissioned by Gujarat state. The generation capacity of this park is 345 megawatt by the end of March 2016. It is an innovative and at the same time environmentally friendly project. The state has also started a rooftop solar power generation scheme to establish Gandhinagar as a solar power city. from this scheme the Gujarat government AIMS at the generation of 5 megawatts of power through solar panels. The solar panels are plant To be built on about 50 state government buildings and almost 500 private buildings. The state is also working towards generating power by 16 by installing solar panels across the Narmada canal. This project aims to put a halt to the water evaporation from the Narmada canal every year which is about 9000 liters in capacity.
Canal solar power project
This project is developed to utilize a 532-kilometer network of the Narmada canal. Solar panels are developed across the candle for the generation of electricity through solar. It is the first solar project developed in India. Sunedison India had commissioned this project.
The 1-megawatt project was inaugurated on 24 April 2012. This project is situated near Chandrasan village in the Mehsana District. By this project, clean Energy of about 1 megawatt is generated every year. It also prevents the evaporation of about 9000000 liters of water from the Narmada canal annually. Thus this project helps in tackling the challenges of the state which are water security and power generation through renewables. The canal is owned and maintained by Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited. The government did not have to spend much on the creation of the basic infrastructure of this project which included the land acquisition. This project helps in saving 11000 acres of land and 20 billion liters of water from evaporating from the canal every year.
Dholera Solar park in Ahmedabad
Gujrat is the top state in the country to get approvals for power generation through solar parks. The country’s largest solar park is being built at Dholera, Ahmedabad. The capacity of this park is 5000 megawatt. The project is being developed in two phases. The two phases include one-megawatt generation and four-megawatt generation, each being funded differently. Dholera is India’s first world-class Greenfield smart project. It was approved in 2009. It aims at supporting the government’s plan of producing clean energy of 175 Gigawatt by the end of the year 2022. The project was approved in May 2018 by the ministry of new and renewable energy. The first phase development conditional approval was received in February 2019.
The Dolera Solar park covers an area of 8595 hectares. The entire park has been divided into 11 blocks. Each block consists of 27 plots. Each plot has a generation capacity of 100 megawatts, 160 megawatts, and 200 megawatts. The polycrystalline silicon technology is used in the Solar photovoltaic module which is installed in the park.
The transmission of power from the Dholera solar park will be done through a 49 kilometer long and 33 kV underground cable. This includes high and low voltage lines. The cables are used to transport power generated from the solar panel to the substations. The substations are rated at 33 kV/ 400KV. Stepping up of power will be done to Ice at the substation. the substation is constructed at an elevated height so that flood damages could be avoided. Getco is responsible for the power generation through phase 1 and POWER GRID is responsible for the power generation through phase 2.
Channels are developed from the Narmada river for the water requirement in Solar Park. Various arrangements for water transmission like water pumping facility ground reservoir and transmission pipelines are developed for the distribution of water throughout the park.
Solar policies in Gujarat state.
The installed capacity of renewable energy is recorded in Gujarat as of January 2019 is 7645 megawatt. This number only satisfies 28% of the total energy requirement. Hence the Gujarat government has planned to take this number to 22922 megawatts by the end of the year 2020. If this number is achieved then it would result in 53 % of the total energy requirement.
Gujarat state is working to add about 20000-megawatt total energy generation within the next few years. The state is working to increase the share of renewable energy in total energy generation from 10 % to 17% by the year 2020. It was announced by the Gujarat government that the solar power generator would be increased to 3000 megawatts annually in January 2019.
To give a boost to the power generation through renewables Gujarat government has adopted a solar-wind hybrid policy. by establishing this policy the Gujarat government aims to establish about 425 search hybrid parks each with at least a generation capacity of 2000 megawatt.
Why is solar favorable in Ahmedabad?
Generation of energy through solar requires large land areas. But the cost of land is increasing day by day. Hence an optimum use of the available land has to be made for the generation of solar. One of the ways to make optimum use of land for power generation through solar is by building solar panels on national highways. This method will save a used amount of land area. by constructing a single layer Solar panel on Ahmedabad Rajkot highway
Electricity of about 104 megawatts can be generated. Similarly, the construction of solar panels of a single layer on the Ahmedabad Vadodara highway can produce a maximum of 61 megawatts of energy. Now if two layers of solar panels are constructed over the Ahmedabad Rajkot highway then a total of 229 gigawatts of electricity can be produced by the solar panels. Since Ahmedabad has a large number of national highways this method of production of electricity using solar can be efficiently implemented in Ahmedabad.
The huge gap between energy generation and its demand also opens the door for solar power generation. Gujarat is among the top three industrialists of the country. Since Gujarat is an industrial state electricity is a must for industries to run efficiently. Hence most of the industries in Gujarat have been focusing on the generation of electricity by installing rooftop solar panels. The industries in Ahmedabad have also been successful in attracting government policies for the installation of solar panels.
The geographical location of Ahmedabad also makes it favorable for the state to generate electricity using sun energy. The city is located in the Sunny belt of the country. The city experiences clear bright weather for about 250 to 300 days in a year. It also receives a maximum of global radiation annually. These aspects help the state a lot in the generation of electricity using solar energy due to the ease of its availability.
Rooftop solar policy 2020
The Dakshin Gujarat Vij Company Limited aims to provide a subsidiary of 40% to the residents and industrialists for the installation of solar panels between the capacity of 1 kilowatt to 3 kilowatts. It provides a subsidiary of about 20% for the installation of solar power between 6 kilowatts to 10 kilowatts. The amount comes to about 28000 rupees for solar panels up to 3 kilowatts and 37000 for capacity up to 10 kilowatts. the payback would be easily recovered within three to four years for 3-kilowatt panels. The application fees are kept as low as rupees 1500 to encourage more adoption of solar power in the state.
By the use of this policy, the target was to achieve a power generation of 8,000 megawatts by the end of March 2020. This would help in providing a boost to clean and green energy. Using this policy the investors would be encouraged to invest in solar power generation. However, the Gujarat government has decided to extend the period of this policy up to December 2020. The policy has been extended by 9 months approximately. This would help in more adoption of solar power generation by different residents and industrialists. Using this policy the state has been able to achieve a target of 305 megawatts of electricity generation against the target of 10711 megawatts.
The Surya Gujarat Scheme
Till now Gujarat has installed 208-megawatt solar plants. Out of this 55 630 are solar rooftop plants. This number has been achieved within the short span of about nine months only. The state has been able to achieve the target of 55 8.17 megawatt of solar rooftop plants by the end of May 31, 2020, as per the reports of the Ministry of New and renewable energy. The target of achieving 1.75 lakh megawatt of energy generation through solar by the end of the year 2020 has been set by the country’s prime minister. Gujarat state has decided to take a lead in this aim of the PM.
Given increasing the adoption of 16, Gujarat CM Vijaybhai Rupani has announced the Surya Gujarat scheme. By implementing this scheme the CM Aims at covering about 8 lakh residential solar rooftop plants by the end of 2020.
The subsidy price has substantially been increased. The government has decided to contribute about 40% of the fixed price for installation up to 3 kilowatts. The subsidy aims to contribute 30% for or installation from 5 kilowatts to 10 kilowatts. The state government had made a province of rupees 912 crores in the annual budget of your 20 2021 to give a boost to the scheme.
The electricity generated by these rooftop solar plants can be used for domestic purposes by the residents. However, if excess electricity is generated then the electricity can be fed to the national grid at the rate of rupees 2.21.
Till now the Gujarat government has been successful in implementing this across the state. By June 19 2020 the Gujarat Energy development corporation has received a total of 1.28 lakh applications for the scheme. And the state is working to increase the awareness of the scheme so that it reaches more people.
Cons of using solar energy
With solar energy having a negligible contribution to the emission of carbon, comes a huge cost of installation of solar energy. The solar PV system requires a huge setup cost and detailed design. Also, a large land area is required for the installation of solar panels. For commercial purposes, the land requirement for setting up solar power is almost 3.5 to 10 acres megawatt. Solar panels use exotic materials in their production like copper, gallium, cadmium. If these materials are not disposed of properly after usage, it may cause harm to the environment and result in public health threat.
One of the reasons why we can’t shift completely to solar is due to a lack of backup power. At night and during cloudy and monsoon season, the output of solar panels is zero and hence a large amount of storage systems is required for these times. It becomes difficult to store electricity in such large amounts.
Solar for end-users
Using solar reduces the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and contributes to reducing global warming. Renewable helps in improving public health.
Solar farms with large capacity e are developed to electrify a huge area. Concentrated solar power is a technology that uses mirrors to concentrate the Solar radiations at one point. This increases the efficiency of solar panels.
Solar panels can be installed on utilized lands making them usable. by installing rooftop solar panels the cost and electricity which is lost in distribution and transmission are nullified. Solar power improves grid security. Since most households have installed rooftop solar panels the possibility of blackout and power cuts is reduced.
Solar for Retailers
Solar retailers have a lot to gain. solar panels can produce excess amounts of electricity during the daytime. Some amount of this electricity can be stored in batteries for the night. If the Solar panel is producing more electricity than which can be stored and utilized at the same time, the excess electricity can be sold to solar retailers. The solar retailers are the power distribution companies. hence the power distribution companies can buy electricity that has been produced from the solar panel at a fixed rate. This electricity can also be added to the national grid. This system will overall increase the reliability of the national grid.
Solar for distributors
The solar system is very distributed. Also, the electricity generated from solar panels is variable. This imposes a serious challenge on distributors for the proper management of distributed voltages. The design of the circuit breaker for search variable voltage systems becomes complex. All of this results in an increased cost of installation. Hans PV systems are more advantageous for standalone systems. For interconnected systems there comes a huge problem of synchronism for solar distributors.
The article starts by explaining the importance of solar energy and how the solar industry had flourished in Gujarat. Solar is a clean and green form of energy. Hence, certain schemes have been implemented in Ahmedabad city to give a boost to power generation through solar. Two such schemes have been described. The article also explains a major solar park project constructed in the city of Ahmedabad – Dholera Solar park. The canal solar plant built on the Narmada canal to avoid evaporation of water has also been explained. The article goes on to explain why a city like Ahmedabad has huge scope and potential of extracting energy from solar and some disadvantages of using solar energy.