New Delhi,12 May:The Solar Energy Centre is a technical focal point of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for the development and promotion of solar energy technologies. On this 81hectare campus, buildings have been constructed on solar passive techniques to achieve energy efficiency and environmentally friendliness. It also has been incorporated more solar essential points which provides energy efficiency. It maximizes solar radiation during winter and avoids during summer. With abundance sunshine this becomes an ideal location for experiments with the energy from the sun.
The SEC serves as an effective interface between the Government and the institutions, industry and user organizations for development, promotion and widespread utilization of solar energy in the country and the main function of the center are research and development – cooperation with institutions and industries; testing in standardisation – national test facility and coordination with regional test centers (RTCs) and standards organizations; technology demonstration and assessment – evaluation of technical, environmental and economic performance ; human resources development – training and visitors programme, dissemination and diffusion of solar energy technologies; advisory and consultancy services and international cooperation. Thus the products developed by organizations are brought here for testing and standardization, the centre evaluates them and suggests ways for modifying them towards betterment, as a result of which, more reliable and efficient products come out.
The solar thermal test facility is equipped for testing of solar thermal collectors, domestic solar water heating systems and solar cookers, both box type and concentrating type. The center works closely with the Bureau of Indian Standard, which brought out Indian standards on solar flat-plate collectors at par with the International Standards.
The solar photo-voltaic facility at SEC is like one of the four other such centers in the world. They are ISPRA, Milan, Italy, TUV, Germany, Arizona University USA and Kyoto. The demand of solar cells which are called solar wafers and modules or solar panels is very high in the country. We import about 30 per cent solar cells. Telecom Ministry, Defence, Railways and ONGC are permanent users of this system. Referring to revolution in home light systems, Dr. Bandopadhyay said that LED, i.e. Light Emitting Diodes have been developed. Incandescent lights have been replaced by fluorescent lights. Recently, CFL bulbs with little modification in fluorescent system came in the market but this also does not have efficacy. So far LED was used in electronic equipments as indicators but with innovation of white LED, we will have LED light systems in the near future. They have longest life and they can work in hard environments. Fluorescent lights do not works in cold regions like Leh Ladakh and in vary hot regions like Rajasthan.
With the initiation of the Ministry there are 5,60,000 solar lanterns, 3,42,000 home lighting systems, 54,700 solar street lights and almost 7000 water pumping systems in the country.
The Center is also working towards bio-fuels and 26,000 Jatropha saplings from three different agro-climatic zones have been planted in 26-acre land. Experiments are being done for improving the productivity of Jatropha plant seeds, mastering the extraction and esterification technology and finding remunerative bi- products, which is a challenge for life science scientists. Efforts are on to evolve a drought resistant Jatropha seed which will provide minimum 3 kgs of seed per plant annually commencing from third year of plantation and minimum 40% oil content.