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Indian States having the most potential for Solar Power Generation

The solar energy produced by Solar panels depends on the direct (DNI) and deflected solar radiation (GNI) that reaches the solar panels.

Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI): The total amount of solar radiation per unit area that is intercepted by a flat, horizontal surface.

Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI): The amount of direct beam solar radiation per unit area that is intercepted by a flat surface that is at all times pointed in the direction of the sun.

Diffuse Horizontal Irradiance (DHI): The amount of diffuse solar radiation per unit area that is intercepted by a flat, horizontal surface that is not subject to any shade or shadow and does not arrive on a direct path from the sun.

Based on the GHI data for India surprisingly state of Jammu and Kashmir is among the best sates in terms of solar radiation. However, developing solar energy on ground requires at least semi flat land which is a challenge in many parts of the country. The deserts and mountainous regions pose a tremendous challenge in terms of developing and maintaining solar power assets, due to which they remain potential regions only on paper. The leading state in terms of solar power generation in India is Karnataka.

Carbon Offset and trees planted by installing Solar Energy

If you are an owner of solar plant or if you are planning to install a solar plant, the carbon offset by solar energy is something you need to consider. Solar is considered to be a green source of power, but how green is it? let’s consider the following facts.

  • Coal is the most used power source in India contributing to 56.7% of the installed capacity in India. The amount of Co2 generated per unit for a coal fired power plant is somewhere in the range of 700 grams. The high co2 generation is on account of poor quality of coal being used in Indian Coal Plants.
  • In case of Solar Power there is no clear understanding of the co2 produced per unit of solar power generated. The co2 produced is during the manufacturing activity of solar panels and inverters and not during the actual production of solar energy itself. From an Indian perspective the value chain for solar components is diversified across geographies, with Solar cell mainly coming in from China, the panels and inverters being manufactured in India or coming in from Germany, Taiwan, Malaysia, China etc. The other balance of system items like structures and earthing components being manufactured across Indian states. The approximate ball park figure would be 50 grams of co2 produced per unit of solar energy generated.
  • The trees planted for each solar panel installed depends of type of tree and age of the tree. Trees that grow fast and live long are ideal for offsetting co2. However, these two attributes don’t go hand in hand. The carbon offset figures therefore vary significantly from species and age of a tree. For the case of simplicity, it is safe to assume that a mature tree can absorb 30 kg of co2 a year.

A small solar plant of 1kw capacity can generate as much as 4 units a day for at least 300 days a year in any part of the country. Therefore considering 1200 units of energy generated this would equal to offsetting 780 kg of co2 or planting 26 trees. That’s a lot of trees planted, wouldn’t you say so?