Energy is a key resource for the overall development of an economy. India has been endowed with abundant renewable solar energy resource and in this large country where the rate of electrification has not kept pace with the expanding population, urbanization and industrialisation which have resulted huge gap between demand and supply of electricity. People not served by the power grid have to rely on fossil fuels like kerosene and diesel to meet their energy needs. This may also lead to incur more and more recurring expenditure by the poor people in rural areas. The rural areas which have been brought under power grid, the supply would be erratic and unreliable especially during the critical farming period. India receives a solar energy equivalent of 5000 Trillion kWh/year with a daily average solar energy incidence of 4-7 kWh/m2.
This is considerably more than the total energy consumption of the country. Further, most parts of the country experiences 250300 sunny days in a year, which makes solar energy a viable option in these areas. The solar energy is best suited for the remote areas where power grid is not in place. This may ensure high performance in the longer duration. Decentralised renewable energy systems, which rely on locally available resources, could be the solution to the rural energy problem, particularly in remote areas where power grid is not a viable proposition
Solar energy, with its virtually infinite potential and freely abundant availability, represents a non-polluting and inexhaustible energy source which can be developed to meet the energy requirements of mankind in a major way. The high cost of electricity, fast depleting fossil fuels and the public concern about the eco-friendly power generation have led to a surge of interest for utilization of solar energy. To evaluate the energy potential at a particular place, detailed information on its availability is essential. These include data on solar intensity, spectrum, incident angle and cloudiness as a function of time.
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