A solar power plant is any form of facility that converts sunshine into energy, either directly (photovoltaics) or indirectly (solar thermal plants). They come in a range of shapes and sizes, each utilising somewhat different methods to harness the sun’s energy. If electricity costs Rs. 18 per kWh but the plant costs Rs. 8 crore, a 1 MW plant can profit Rs. 1.6 crore per year for the next 25 years! There is an additional level of uncertainty with rooftop solar because there are so few solar installations on rooftops in India. However, the solar panels that generate that energy do not survive indefinitely. Because the industry typical life lifetime is roughly 25 to 30 years, some panels installed at the start of the present boom aren’t far from being replaced.
In an hour and a half, the amount of sunshine that touches the earth’s surface is enough to power the entire world’s energy usage for a year. Photovoltaic (PV) panels or mirrors that concentrate solar radiation are used in solar technologies to convert sunlight into electrical energy. This energy can be converted into electricity or stored in batteries or thermal storage.
Solar radiation is light emitted by the sun, also known as electromagnetic radiation. While every area on Earth receives some sunlight over the course of a year, the amount of solar energy reaching any given spot on the planet’s surface fluctuates. Solar technologies absorb this radiation and convert it to energy that may be used.
The two primary types of solar energy technology (CSP) are photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSTP): – Photovoltaics Fundamentals
When the sun shines on a solar panel, the PV cells in the panel absorb the energy from the sun. This energy causes electricity to flow by forcing electrical charges to shift in response to an internal electrical field in the cell.
Basics of Solar-Thermal Power Concentration
Mirrors reflect and focus sunlight onto receivers, which collect solar energy and convert it to heat, which can subsequently be utilised to generate electricity or stored for later use in concentrated solar-thermal power (CSP) systems. It’s mostly found in very large power plants.
With the commissioning of its new solar power plant near Payyannur in the district of Kannur, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) in the state of Kerala, the first airport in the world to be totally powered by solar energy, would become power-positive. CIAL Managing Director S Suhas was quoted in a PTI article as saying that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would launch the 12 MWp solar power facility on March 6. According to CIAL, the power plant has a 12 megawatt capacity and is located on 35 acres of land. CIAL presented a concept of terrain-based installation, in which the geographical characteristics of the area are preserved and no modifications in the gradient are made.
According to Suhas, the Cochin International Airport Limited’s cumulative installed capacity of solar plants has been scaled up to 50 MWp with the new plant. CIAL’s solar facilities produce two lakh units of power per day, whilst the Cochin airport consumes 1.6 lakh units per day. According to CIAL, this takes the Cochin International Airport Limited one step closer to becoming a power-positive airport, from its existing status of being a power-neutral airport. The emphasis, according to Cochin International Airport Limited, was on constructing the plant while maintaining the land’s gradient. It went on to say that this may contain 35% more solar panels, resulting in increased energy generation. CIAL claimed that the carbon impact would be decreased by 28,000 metric tonnes per year. According to the research, Cochin International Airport became the first airport in the world to be totally powered by solar energy in 2015.
On 6 November 2021, the CM opened CIAL’s Arippara Hydroelectric Power Project, which is expected to generate 14 million units of electricity annually.