1 September 2020
Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) working under CSIR have installed a ‘solar tree’ that is likely to be the largest of its kind in the world in Durgapur Residential Complex in West Bengal.
- Availablity of land is the major hurdle in setting up the solar panels on large scale.
- The inclination of the tree arms (tree branches) holding the panels can be adjusted to get the maximum output, a feature which is not available in roof top panels.
- Solar trees because of their design use less space and hence can produce more power per unit area.
- Another major hurdle of solar tree is its capital investment.
- This pushes up the cost of one unit of electricity produced which is almost double as compared to solar panels.
- The CMERI developed solar tree costs around Rs 7.5 lakh.
- According to the scientists at CMERI the shadow area is minimum in solar trees and they could be set up in agricultural farms to run pumps, e-tractors and tillers as an alternative to diesel. The excess power can be sent to the grid providing economic return to farmers.
- This solar tree is a quantum leap towards making energy reliant and carbon negative India.
About the Solar Tree:
· A solar tree is a metal structure resembling a tree that has solar panels fitted on the branches. The solar panels connected through metal branches produces solar power.
· The CMERI solar tree has 35 panels each with a capacity of 330 watts.
· This is supposedly the largest solar tree producing up to 11,500 watts (11.5kw).
· It has the capacity to produces 12,000–14,000 units of clean and green power in a year.
· The solar tree has the potential to save 10–12 tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere every year.
The CSIR-CMERI along with the Solar Trees have also developed the E-Suvidha Kiosks that can be connected to the solar trees for real time access to vast majority of agricultural database and also to eNAM. This will help in making instant and real time access to a unified online market.
Harnessing Solar Energy with Agriculture
The Government of India has launched KUSUM(The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha (PM KUSUM) to develop renewable energy based grids. Under the scheme, the excess power generated in the solar power is to be purchased by the state governments at profitable price to farmers.