Tapping of sunlight for power generation

P3 tapping of sun ligh_optBy Sirfraz Khan

SUNLIGHT ENERGY on a clear day which falls on the surface of Pakistan on an area of one square meter is near about 1000 watts or one kWatt.

Thus on a square kilometer area it amounts to one million kilowatts. While installing solar panels 50 per cent area is lost thus only 500,000 square meter area is available. Although these days 20 per cent panel efficiency is normal for conversion of sun light to solar power, I take 15 per cent efficiency and calculate the power available through installing panels on an area of one square kilometer, which will gives an output of 75000 kilo watts or 7.5 mega watts.

The present FOB price of high efficiency panels of 250 watts each ranges between 45 to 50 cents per watt and for grid connected complete system to give power during the day amounts 75 to 80 cents fully installed. This makes solar PV power the cheapest power available in the world.

The PV power technology has been perfected. Now solar power installations of 500 to 1000 mega watts are a common feature worldwide.

It is the fastest growing industry in the world.  China which entered in this industry in 2001 has become the world number one producer of all components required in solar power plants in a short period of 12 years. Quality-wise it has surpassed Europe and North America.

No country can match its prices now.

The main advantages of grid connected solar power and stand alone power systems are many. it is pollution free and panels keep giving power for 30 years and at slightly reduced efficiency up to further 15 years that means 45 years in total. After 3 to 4 years, it would pay the purchase price with the amount of electricity supplied and after it the power would be free of charge. Similarly, it can be installed on building roofs to supply 10 to 15 kilo watts for domestic applications and up to 500 Kilo Watt for industrial applications provided roofs support and provide enough space. Useless lands, deserts, hill slopes and weathered slope can be used near the towns for big installations. If no corruption and red tape by government departments is created I can help in the installation of 5 to 100 mega watts in a short period of 3 to 6 months and bigger installations of 500 to 1000 mega watt within one year. The beauty of the system is that as installation proceeds part electricity is available immediately. And for agriculture tube wells will work during the day. At night smaller installations with battery storage can provide power for fans and other applications.

It is very sad that CBR devised polices which discourage development of this industry even now the policies are anti-solar power promotion. That is why Pakistan has lagged behind in this field.

Import of all solar power related components such as panels, charge controllers, Inverters duel meters, Deep cycle batteries, Connectors Mounting studs should be made duty free

Wapda must improve grids stable voltage and 50 Hz supply.

Let us waste no time to prolong load shedding. Banks dont give loans for solar plants and a system like hire purchase like cars be introduced for solar installations.

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