|English: On 140 acres of unused land on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., 70,000 solar panels are part of a solar photovoltaic array that will generate 15 megawatts of solar power for the base. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
My ‘crazy’ post on power crisis in Kerala attracted some attention in terms of visitors. So I am attempting a followup post motivated by this blog (link above) by Harish that summarises the situation pretty much. The blog says “Possible Options -2008”, and it was actually posted last year and in all probability the situation and statistics have probably worsened since. It is interesting to note that our hunt for “possible solutions” started 5 years back with no sign of any possible solutions in the horizon. So let us continue our lateral exploration.
How can the government incentivise local power generation, whether it is solar, wind or mini-micro hydel projects? Is it possible for individual power producers to contribute directly to the grid? Apparently the model is being considered in Middle East to future-proof their energy requirements. Can we implement the model in God’s own country?
Here is how it might work: Usually individuals generate solar power when they cannot consume it, that is in the morning hours. So storage in the form of batteries is an expensive and cumbersome (to maintain) requirement for such systems. If we can give the power generated in the morning hours to industries that consume it and get compensated in the night we do not need storage/batteries! Avoiding the storage requirement would reduce the cost of solar power generation by more than half! The management of individual/group energy contributions to the grid can be managed and incentivised by government by adopting the Microfinance (Microenergy rather) paradigm that originated from the Indian subcontinent. I am curious to know what the domain experts think about this model.
In a ‘possible – 2014’ post I shall laterally explore the potential of biofilms and energy trapping surface paints for harvesting solar energy. On a lighter note, just planting a tree could also trap substantial solar energy!