The state government is looking at sitting up solar plants near sub stations to meet the power demand locally. It has identified 28 districts where plants of 100 MW can be set up initially. The aim is to provide power at cheaper rates through distributed solar plants.
Big investors are setting up solar plants and wheeling out cheaper power to their customers outside the state. Local people feel they are not getting benefited from this green revolution as they are still paying one of the highest power rates in the country.
Geographically, Rajasthan is located far away from coal mines, increasing the commodity’s freight cost. It is also the largest state with sparce human habitations, requiring long distance transmission lines and large capital investment by the government.
The distance also increases transmission losses which the consumers ultimately pay. Senior energy department officials said distributed solar power has huge potential in the state and the merits are manifold. “There is a scope for addition of distributed solar generation across Rajasthan at substation
level to effectively utilize the already available transmission network capacity,” said the official.
Development of rooftop- and cap- tive solar power plants are already underway. Similarly, power plants set up by farmers under Kusum scheme are also aimed at increasing the ca- pacity under distributed solar plants. Recently, Rajasthan government launched Saur Krishi Aajeevika Yojana (SKAY), a mechanism where farmers or landowners can lease their inarable land to solar power developers or investors.
But the state government feels the potential is much more. Long-distance transmission lines to reach the load centers increases capital expenditure raising power tariffs for the consumers.
“With distributed systems, power is generated near to the demand centres. The power generated is consumed locally with minimal use of transmission network that already exists at sub station levels. That’s why the government has identified 28 districts where the plants can come up,” said the official.
In states like Rajasthan that are not densely populated, distributed solar generation is an effective energy solution to opt for. Sparsely populated areas that require power often end up having high net unit cost; transmission charges, development of infrastructure to deploy the power etc. all are to be taken into consideration. Distributed solar power suits the kind of population Rajasthan has and hence be- comes an effective option to opt for.
Ramakant Jangid, Vice President of the Rajasthan Solar Association and Director at Corona Soltech says distributed solar is the future; “you can see solarized roofs everywhere globally.” “Distributed Solar suits our state’s population type as well and it serves as a major benefit. Rooftop solar can also be installed as per the consumption needs.” He adds. Jangid also notes the reasons of rooftop solar gaining grounds as ease of installation, “there isn’t a requirement to set up a separate GSS or grid system. Consumption of the generated power is possible without any transmission.” Adding, he mentions that distributed solar also helps the operators as it doesn’t require extra land and helps in saving that cost.
The energy department is exploring distributed solar power generation with 50 to 200 MW plants in the districts near to load centres. The plan is to develop 100 MW in each district initially which will be taken up in phases for implementation, said the official.
Distributed power generation, although not a new development, has been gaining major popularity in recent years. The concept is promising and fulfilling to the needs of rapid urbanizing economies around the world.
Distributed power structures may serve a single entity such as a home or a business, or be a part of a larger power delivery microgrid for larger utility structures such as large scale
commercial buildings, educational institutions etc. These structures for power generations can be installed on the rooftops, lawns, backyards etc. of the houses or other places such as commercial buildings that will be using the generated energy. One of the many perks of distributed energy is that the surplus generated energy can be transferred to power grids for consumption.
With solar energy becoming mainstream, distributed solar energy, mainly, rooftop solar, has been gaining grounds in India due to its easy availability and customization for the needs. Let’s take an overall look at the benefits of distributed solar:
• Ease of installation: Rooftop solar is gaining grounds due to its ease of installation. The distributed solar installations are easy to set up. The standard structure of a distributed solar generation system consists of the solar panel, mounting structure