India: Renewable Energy ‘Solar Power Tree’ Brings India's Renewable Energy Future Within Reach

Editor: Dominik Stephan

India's Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has recently launched the ‘Solar Power Tree’ in New Delhi. It has been developed by the CSIR–Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CMERI), a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

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New Delhi/India – The Solar Power Tree harnesses solar energy for producing electricity with an innovative vertical arrangement of solar cells. It thus reduces the requirement of land as compared to the conventional solar photovoltaic layout, on one hand, while keeping the land character intact on the other. Even the cultivable land can be utilized for solar energy harnessing along with farming at the same time. The innovation finds its viability both in rural and urban areas.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, while appreciating the efforts of the scientists of the CSIR-CMERI, added that the Solar Power Tree innovatively addresses the challenge of increasing demand for green energy by gainfully utilizing scarce land resources in the country. Further, the Minister noted that in order to produce 1 MW of solar power it requires about 3.5 acre of land in the conventional layout of solar panels. Thus, for any state in the country to survive on green energy, there will be a requirement of thousands of acres of land. Acquisition of land is a major issue in itself, he added.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan launches ‘Solar Power Tree’

DG, CSIR, Dr. Girish Sahni also present on the occasion, informed that the device has been functioning effectively at three places in West Bengal as a pilot project. As a future prospect, the Solar Power Tree would be developed in a rotatable module, which would have a motorized mechanism to align itself with the movement of the Sun during the day. Hence, it would be possible to harness 10–15 per cent more power over and above the current capacity.

  • The salient features of the Solar Power Tree are as follows:
  • It takes only 4 square feet of land for a 5 KW Solar Power tree, whereas in a conventional layout, it requires 400 square feet of land.
  • By holding the photovoltaic panels at a higher height, on an average it gets more sunrays for one hour in a day. As a result, it is possible to harness 10–15 per cent more power in comparison to a conventional layout on ground. It has a battery back-up of 2 hours on full load, hence giving light even after sunset.
  • It is facilitated with water sprinkler at the top for self-cleaning of panels, that increases the efficiency of the solar panels.
  • The estimated cost of the device is around Rs 5 lakh for a 5 KW specification.
  • Dr. Harsh Vardhan, while appreciating the strong connect of CSIR with the industry as well as the society, emphasized the need for greater partnership and linkage with the stakeholders in order make the indigenously developed technologies reach out to the society.