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PV in India, - not such a rosy picture
By A. Jagadeesh, Nellore, India
India has solar photovoltaic (SPV) systems with a capacity of 28 MW (March 1998). They are mainly for communications, street lighting, home lighting, and pumping. This is far behind other renewable energy sources in India. The main impediment to wider use of SPV systems is the heavy initial investment. The capital cost per kW for SPV is 300,000 Rupees (Rs., $US 7,500), while that for wind is around 35,000 Rs. ($US 900) and for biomass power, 40,000 Rs. ($US 1000).
Another challenge is the quality of the storage batteries used in the SPV stand-alone systems. The performance of SPV street lamps is far from satisfactory. Accumulation of dust and smoke on the solar panels is also a serious problem.
PV projects will not be sustainable unless the beneficiaries somehow share a sense of ownership in the projects and take responsibility for carrying out the modest maintenance tasks that the systems require. Until there are major breakthroughs in the efficiency and costs of solar cells, the technology will not gain widespread acceptance in developing countries like India.
(shortened by the editors)

Info: Nayudamma Centre for Development Alternatives,
2/210 1st floor, Nawabpet, Nellore, 524 002,
Andhra Pradesh, India.
Ph:+91 -861-321580/-324806,
fax:+91 -861-330692/-331848,
e-mail: .
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ISSUE #30 (683KB) 18 pages (2000-08-11)
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