With the continuous explosion of the human population, the energy demand is also growing rapidly, and fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy sector of India. 58% of the total energy comes from coal which is produced by burning it in thermal power plants. This process of energy generation produces a lot of pollution in the air causing a major threat to the environment. Secondly, scientists claim that fossil fuels (coal, petroleum and natural gas) are going to last for only the next few years as they take millions of years to form and they are being exhausted quicker than they can replenish. That is why they are termed as a non-renewable source of energy. Other conventional energy sources include nuclear energy which produces a lot of hazardous nuclear waste, disposition of which is Still questionable.
In recent times, solar energy has come up as a very promising source of power generation. India being a tropical country, has a great potential to generate electricity from solar power. In contrast to the conventional sources of energy, solar energy does not pose any threat to the environment while being unlimited too. It is also known as a clean energy source.
Solar energy works by converting the sunlight to electricity using photovoltaic cells that are also known as solar cells. The sun releases tiny packets of energy called photons which strike the surface of solar cells to cause the flow of electric charges in the cell, thus producing electric current.
To promote solar energy, the government of India is launching many schemes. One of them is Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) launched on 11th January 2010, under National Action Plan on Climate Change. In January 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President François Hollande laid the foundation stone for the headquarters of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in Gwal Pahari, Gurgaon. The ISA aims to focus on promoting and developing solar energy and solar products for countries lying in between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Currently, solar energy accounts for 5.1% of the total energy sources in India.
However, Green energy also comes with several disadvantages. Firstly, it is totally dependent on the availability of sunlight. Therefore, the solar panels would not generate any energy during the night or cloudy/ rainy weather. The energy captured during the availability of sunlight must be stored, which is an area of research that is being dealt with currently. Secondly, while installing a panel, a lot of other equipment like storage battery are also needed which makes the installation quite expensive. Solar panels also require considerable maintenance as well.
Thus, solar energy comes up as a very promising source of Green energy. However, in a country where still many people are living without electricity, a complete shift to solar energy from conventional is a big challenge.