Tag Archives: Solar Energy

Pakistani farmers struggle to switch to solar powered pumps

By Aamir Saeed

Amid Pakistan’s growing energy crisis, farmers are being encouraged to switch from diesel to solar powered water pumps, but few can afford the initial costs

Arshad Khan recently converted his diesel-operated water pump to solar energy to save money on his monthly diesel bill. He grows wheat, vegetables, peanuts and sugar-cane on his 18 hectare farm in Attock district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

“In April last year I decided to convert my tube well to solar energy after my diesel costs rose to 29,000 rupees (US$287) per month,” he said.

In Pakistan, there are over 1.1 million agriculture tube wells, with only 30% of them operated by electricity.

As the country faces a growing energy crisis, farmers are left with no option but to switch from diesel to solar energy to irrigate their crops. Tube wells consume around 2,000 million litres of diesel every year.

Khan is now encouraging other farmers in the area to install solar panels, pointing out the long-term economic benefits despite the initial expenditure of 1.8 million rupees (US$17,827).

National solar drive?

Pakistan’s government recently approved the use of grid-connected solar energy and rooftop solar installations and cut import taxes on solar equipment in a bid to boost solar power across the country.

In the next few months, Pakistan will add 100MW from the Quaid-e-Azam solar park in Punjab province to the national grid for the first time, with an additional 50MW to be added within a year. The project is part of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, under which China will invest US$33 billion including in the energy and power sector.

But the country’s solar sector has a long way to go. “At the moment, generation of solar energy in the public sector is zero as all the projects are being done in the private sector,” said Asjad Imtiaz Ali, CEO of the Alternative Energy Development Board, a government organisation.

Chairman of Pakistan Solar Association, Faiz Muhammad Bhutta, recently urged the government to do more to spread solar power: he called for a 20,000-MW solar target by 2026, following the example of India’s National Solar Mission.

Despite plummeting oil prices, Asjad Imtiaz Ali believes Pakistan should continue to develop its renewable energy sector as a way of reducing its reliance on volatile fossil imports for electricity.

Almost half of Pakistan’s total electricity generation comes from expensive thermal energy sources and this means electricity prices have become unaffordable, according to the country’s 2013 National Power Policy.

Solar is the most viable and reliable energy source for agriculture, argues Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman, climate change and renewable energy expert with LEAD Pakistan, an NGO based in Islamabad. He believes farmers across the country should be encouraged to convert their diesel-operated water pumps to solar energy.

“Agriculture tube wells can be operated directly from solar panels as no batteries are required to store the energy for them,” Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman said, adding farmers can recover costs within three to four years by saving on diesel and electricity bills.

Read more » The Third Pole
See more » http://www.thethirdpole.net/pakistani-farmers-struggle-to-switch-to-solar-powered-pumps/

Australian-first floating solar farm due to begin construction in SA

PHOTO: Solar panels will be floated at the wastewater facility at Jamestown similar to a current project in France. (Supplied: Infratech Industries)
PHOTO: Solar panels will be floated at the wastewater facility at Jamestown similar to a current project in France. (Supplied: Infratech Industries)

By Matthew Doran

An Australian-first floating solar power plant is expected to be operational in South Australia by early April, with construction about to begin.

The plant will float on a wastewater treatment facility in Jamestown in the state’s mid north.

Felicia Whiting of Infratech Industries said the plant was designed so that much of the construction could be carried out offsite and slotted together at the facility.

“We should see some plant on the site within about two weeks,” Ms Whiting said.

She also explained that as the solar panels were floating they would be kept cool by the water mass, making them about 57 per cent more efficient than land-based solar panels.

“It prevents water evaporation up to 90 per cent of the surface area covered, and for dry states and dry climates that’s a big water saving measure,” Ms Whiting said.

“It prevents the outbreak of blue-green algae by keeping the surface water cool, which is for treated wastewater an issue in water quality.

“By preventing photosynthesis, the energy from the sun goes into the panel rather than into the water.”

Read more » ABC
See  more » http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-05/australian-first-floating-solar-farm-for-sa/6281374

China: PV installed capacity grows to almost 30 GW in 2014

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has released 2014 solar figures. The report shows installed capacity approached 30 GW, while manufacturers are reporting greatly increased utilization rates.

The NEA report concludes that as of the end of 2014, the total installed PV capacity of connected to state grid was 28.05 GW. Breakdown between installation type reveals ground-mounted capacity was 23.38 GW while Distributed Generation (DG) came in at 4.67 GW.

Total electricity generated by PV showed rapid growth in 2014, reaching 25 billion kW/h, an increase of more than 200% over last year.

For 2014, NEA reports 10.6 GW of new capacity was connected to the state grid, along the lines of previous predictions of 10.52 GW. This accounts for around one quarter of all new PV capacity installed globally and one-third of the total PV module output from China.

Geographically, the east part of China overtook the west for the first time in terms of new PV capacity installed, accounting for 54% of arrays.

Upstream data

From the perspective of the upstream industry, in 2014 the total poly silicon production of China was about 130,000 tons, a 50% increase on 2013. Despite this rapid growth, China still imported about 90,000 tons of poly silicon for domestic manufacturing. The photovoltaic modules production was over 33 GW, an increase of 17% over the previous year of which 68% were exported.

The capacity utilization of PV manufactures increased sharply. The average capacity utilization of top 10 PV modules manufactures stood above 87% by the end of 2014.

The NEA has announced the goal of 15 GW for new solar capacity for 2015.

News courtesy: PV Magazine

Read more: http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/china–pv-installed-capacity-grows-to-almost-30-gw-in-2014_100018231/#ixzz3TVu14y5b

Tesla Motors Announces A New Home Battery; Living Off The Grid Will Soon Be Status Quo

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, announced Wednesday that the company is working on a new kind of battery that would be used to power homes. Based on Tesla’s lithium-ion battery technology, the new battery is expected to help the company become a leader in the growing home energy-storage market.

Speaking during an earnings conference call on Wednesday, Musk said that the design of the battery is complete, and production would begin in about six months. Although the company did not provide any date for the product’s launch, Musk said that he was pleased with the result.

“We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, the consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon,” Bloombergquoted Musk as saying.

During an earnings call last year, Musk had talked about his plans to make a product that would be fitted into consumers’ homes, instead of their cars. He had expressed an interest in the home energy-storage market and predicted enormous demand for battery systems for backup power at both homes and businesses.

“We are trying to figure out what would be a cool stationary (battery) pack,” Forbes had quoted Musk as saying at the time. “Some will be like the Model S pack: something flat, 5 inches off the wall, wall mounted, with a beautiful cover, an integrated bi-directional inverter, and plug and play.”

The Palo Alto, California-based automaker already produces residential energy-storage units through SolarCity Corp., a solar-power company that names Musk as its chairman and the biggest shareholder. In addition, Tesla’s Fremont, California, facility also produces large stationary storage systems for businesses and utility clients, Bloomberg reported.

“The long-term demand for stationary energy storage is extraordinary,” JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technical officer, said. “We’ve put in a huge amount of effort there.”

At this moment, many solar or wind-powered homes have to remain on a the grid because there has not been a way to store extra power for lean hours. If given a relatively cheap and reliable battery to hold the power needed, building off-grid in the country will become commonplace, and even in the city, self powered homes could be a less expensive option than being grid-tied.

Courtesy: Off Grid Quest
Read more » http://offgridquest.com/news/tesla-motors-announces-a-new-home-batter

In the Time It Takes to Read This Story, a Solar Array Will Go up Somewhere

The marketplace for solar power isn’t cooperating with pessimists

Solar panels are super cheap, with prices down more than 75 percent in five years. Just $0.70 a watt! That’s great news, even if few people can explain what a watt feels like exactly.  And the future is growing even brighter, according to a report released today from the independent German research group Agora Energiewende. The analysts report that leading global projections of world energy use may be missing the big picture: “Most scenarios fundamentally underestimate the role of solar power in future energy systems,” the report states. The price of silicon panels is no longer the cost headache it’s been historically. How much sun a location gets, the authors write, is less than a factor than many might think. What increasingly matters is financing costs.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-24/in-the-time-it-takes-to-read-this-story-a-solar-array-will-go-up-somewhere-i6jrbr4x?hootPostID=d7724d162a760d8a3b726708c34ed292

Sunny business: India to trump US with 750 megawatt solar power plant

The construction of the world’s largest solar power plant is underway in central India. When the 750-megawatt site starts operating in August, 2016, the project is set to overtake America’s 550-megawatt ‘Desert Sunlight’ in California.

The world’s largest solar power plant that will be generating 750MW of electricity had been recently commissioned in Rewa district of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the Times of India reported on Monday.

Now, the 40-billion-rupee ($643 million) project is close to acquisition of 1,500 hectares of land, and by April government agencies are believed to start inviting tenders from developers. It is a joint venture of state-run PSU Urja Vikas Nigam with Solar Energy Corporation of India, and at least 20 percent of the energy generated by the plant will be used within the Madhya Pradesh state.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/232675-india-largest-solar-plant/

Australia has proved Solar power can replace fossil fuels

World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’

A CSIRO test plant in Australia has broken a world record and proved solar power could efficiently replace fossil fuels.

A solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia, has generated “supercritical” steam at a pressure of 23.5 MPa (3400 psi) and 570°C (1,058°F).

CSIRO is claiming it as a world record, and it’s a HUGE step for solar thermal energy.

“It’s like breaking the sound barrier; this step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources,” Dr Alex Wonhas, CSIRO’s Energy Director, told Colin Jeffrey for Gizmag.

The Energy Centre uses a field of more than 600 mirrors (known as heliostats) which are all directed at two towers housing solar receivers and turbines, Gizmag reports.

This supercritical steam is used to drive the world’s most advanced power plant turbines, but previously it’s only been possible to produce it by burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas.

“Instead of relying on burning fossil fuels to produce supercritical steam, this breakthrough demonstrates that the power plants of the future could instead be using the free, zero emission energy of the sun to achieve the same result,” Dr Wonhas explained.

Read more » Science Alert
http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20140506-25618.html

Solar Roadways! This Invention Can Change The World. Just Watch.

This video is currently going viral and has been seen by over 6 million people. A crowd funding campaign is currently underway for “Solar Roadways” which would essentially turn all roads into ways solar panels, which would end our reliance on oil. I, for one, support this project. Wouldn’t you?

Read more at http://blog.petflow.com/this-invention/#Hjpf4pDeUaFai4tM.99

Pakistan plans huge desert solar park to fight energy crisis

BADAIWANI WALA: For years Pakistanis have sweated and cursed through summer power cuts, but now the government plans to harness the sun’s ferocious heat to help tackle the country’s chronic energy crisis.

In a corner of the Cholistan desert in Punjab province, power transmission lines, water pipes and a pristine new road cross 10,000 acres of parched, sandy land.

The provincial government has spent $5 million to put in place the infrastructure as it seeks to transform the desolate area into one of the world’s largest solar power parks, capable one day of generating up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

The desert park in Bahawalpur district is the latest scheme to tackle the rolling blackouts which have inflicted misery on people and strangled economic growth.

Temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius in the country’s centre in June and July, sending demand for electricity soaring and leaving a shortfall of around 4,000 MW.

“In phase one, a pilot project producing 100 MW of electricity will hopefully be completed by the end of this year,” Imran Sikandar Baluch, head of the Bahawalpur district administration, told AFP.

“After completion of the first 100 MW project, the government will invite investors to invest here for the 1,000 megawatts.”

A ‘river’ of solar panels

Engineers and labourers are working in the desert under the scorching sun to complete the boundary wall, with authorities keen to begin generating solar electricity by November.

“If you come here after one and a half years, you will see a river of (solar) panels, residential buildings and offices — it will be a new world,”said site engineer Muhammad Sajid, gesturing to the desert.

Besides solar, Pakistan is also trying to tap its unexploited coal reserves — which lie in another area of the same desert, in Sindh province.

In January Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated construction on a $1.6 billion coal plant in the town of Thar, in Sindh.

Work has also begun on a pilot 660 megawatt coal-fired plant in Gadani, a small town on the Arabian Sea.

Another 600 megawatt coal plant has also been given the go-ahead in the southern city of Jamshoro.

But while coal may offer a short-term fix to the energy crisis, authorities are keen to move to cleaner electricity in the long run.

“We need energy badly and we need clean energy, this is a sustainable solution for years to come,” said Baloch.

“Pakistan is a place where you have a lot of solar potential. In Bahawalpur, with very little rain and a lot of sunshine, it makes the project feasible and more economical,” he said.

Clean energy

Baloch believes that the new solar park will make Pakistan a leader in that energy in the region. The initial pilot project is a government scheme but private investors are also taking an interest.

Raja Waqar of Islamabad-based Safe Solar Power is among them. His company plans to invest $10 million to build a 10 MW project in the new park.

“The government has allotted us land over here. Infrastructure, the transmission line and road are available here, that is why we are investing,”Waqar told AFP.

A million dollars per MW is a sizeable investment but Waqar said the company expected to reap returns on it over at least the next decade, and others were keen to get on board.

“There are up to 20 companies who are investing in this park and their projects are in the pipeline,” he said. “Some of them are working on 50 MW, some on 10 and others on 20.”But not everyone is so upbeat about the project.

Arshad Abbasi, an energy expert at Islamabad’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), said the cost of generating solar power from this project may be uneconomical for the government.

He also warned that buying in solar equipment from abroad made little economic sense.

“Had the government decided to establish more hydro or thermal plants in the country it would have generated more employment, business and construction opportunities,” he said.

And farmers in the area who scrape a living herding cattle on the unforgiving land are worried about their future.

“We don’t know if this energy park is good, the power will come or not, we only want the government to spare our area and allow us to continue living here with our cattle,” said Malik Jalal, a local villager.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1101141